Shelter dog reunited with volunteers in Concord following 6 months on the loose

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CONCORD, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A dog missing for six months, feared lost forever, is now back in the hands of the volunteer who originally cared for her. A simple microchip helped make the reunion possible.

The reunion happened last week at the CMPD Animal Care & Control and it was all captured on camera.

“For us, it was this huge surprise to hear today that River was found with puppies that have all been adopted,” said Jayne Ortiz, a volunteer from the Humane Society of Concord.

A loving family adopted the final of four puppies last week.

River was a shelter dog from the Concord Humane Society and ended up about 30 miles south, in South Charlotte near Nations Ford Road.


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Back in February, the Humane Society posted a plea on social media, saying River slipped out of her harness while staying with a South Park foster family.

“She kept being sighted. People kept saying we’ve got eyes on her, we have seen her, We would go wherever she was last sighted and I thought she might then recognize my voice so I would go and call out,” said Ortiz.

River never answered those calls and after a few months, the search was called off.

There was another call on August 16, in which CMPD Animal Care & Control officers responded to Short Hills Drive.

“It actually came in as a call that we get pretty often, it was a mother dog and her puppies coming out of a wooded area,” said Senior Officer Justin Morrison.

Officers caught three puppies with no problems, but one pup and River ran back into the woods. They ran deep down into a hole that they called home.

Two hours of digging and an officer covered nearly head to toe in mud led to the rescue of the fourth puppy.

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Officers caught River days later and scanned her a microchip, which finally brought the six-month journey on the run to an end.

“It was pretty surprising she was able to survive, give birth to her puppies, and feed herself to keep her puppies alive and nurse them,” said Officer Morrison.

River is not getting some extra attention and care since was the second time she has lived alone in the wild.

“We will always make sure she has a harness lead because she is an escape artist,” said Ortiz.

River was originally with the volunteers back in February at the Humane Society of Concord to be treated for heartworm after previously being found living in the wild, with another litter of puppies.

River was allowed to go to South Charlotte as part of a medical treatment foster care program.

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