The drama began at a motel in Arcadia. Multiple police cars and an ambulance arrived after a motel worker called 911 to report an injured guest in her room. Upon entering, the first responders found a small dog watching over a listless woman as if he was a 100-pound guard dog protecting a yard.
Baring teeth, Noodle, a 6-year-old, 10-pound miniature pinscher, made it difficult for the rescue team to go near his human on the bed. The officers managed to lock the dog in the bathroom and the ambulance rushed the woman off for care.
When Pasadena Humane Society animal control officers arrived, Noodle’s behavior was so erratic it took two of them to get him to the rescue truck. Once at the shelter, Noodle wouldn’t let staff near him and showed no interested in food. Pacing back and forth all day long in his kennel, he seemed like he was anxiously searching for his owner. The staff was worried that he was not doing well and urgently tried to find the woman from the motel room.
Noodle had a microchip, but unfortunately the phone number was disconnected. Follow-up calls to the hospital where the owner was taken proved unsuccessful. Back at the Pasadena Humane Society, Noodle was held for the legal, 10-day period, but no one came for him.
Nancy, a staffer at the shelter, had short blond hair, and was small in stature, standing about five feet tall. She knew about Noodle’s aggressive behavior from other staff members, but saw no evidence of it herself. Every time she walked by this small dog’s kennel, he ran up to the front, wagging his tail and begging for attention. She began to regularly visit the pup, taking him for walks and spending some comfort time with him in her office. As Noodle came to realize he was in a safe place, his behavior quickly changed and he was soon adopted to a new family.
Sadly, a few weeks later, his original owner came into the shelter looking for her dog. She had returned home to Phoenix after her release from the hospital and was now back with her boyfriend to find her missing dog. She had only been in the area to visit family when her accident occurred and had to return home to recuperate. Physically, she looked just like Pasadena Humane staffer Nancy, which explained the connection Nancy and Noodle had. The woman had been through an incredible ordeal and now her best friend was gone, too. Before she left, she asked if the shelter would notify her if Noodle ever came back.
Many months later, Nancy was working at the front desk when a dog that looked just like Noodle walked in with his adopter. The person was returning the dog to the shelter because “we just never bonded.” Nancy knew just what to do. She placed Noodle in her office and called the original owner. A man answered the phone. He was the woman’s boyfriend at the time, but they had broken up months ago. Noodle’s owner had moved out of the area and they had not been in touch since. He remembered, however, how much she loved that little dog and became determined to reunite them. Luckily, he still had her number.
As Noodle’s original owner squealed in delight with the thought of reuniting with the dog she considered her heart, she made arrangements to return to Pasadena to get her dog. Her ex-boyfriend drove in from Phoenix to surprise her and the three were reunited at the Pasadena Humane Society. Long story short, they are now married and Noodle is safely at home with the people he was meant to be with. His microchip has been updated and he is wearing a tag.
While this story has a happy ending, Noodle could have been easily reunited with his family if he had up-to-date identification. Here are some things to consider when traveling with your pet:
- Always have current ID tag on your pet’s collar. Make sure your pet’s microchip is up-to-date at all times. Add a backup number of a reliable friend or relative to call if you are unable to be reached.
- Leave an “in case of emergency” letter with contact numbers in your car, luggage and wallet. Make sure your loved ones have your itinerary as well.
- Research the animal control facility and veterinarians in the area in advance and have a plan for emergencies.
- In the event your pet does get lost, having them up-to-date on vaccines and spayed or neutered will keep them healthier and may reduce fees at the shelter.