When Suzanne Fierros received a message Tuesday morning saying her dog had been found, she texted her son to ask if the dogs had gotten out. She never imagined that the dog that was found had been lost nearly nine years ago.
Her two rescue dogs Luke and Leia were safe at home. It was Sadie, the dog that disappeared in May 2010 that had turned up at the Long Beach Animal Shelter.
The 13-year-old Lhasa Apso escaped Fierros’ backyard in Santa Fe Springs nearly a decade ago. Despite months of posting fliers, combing through shelters and websites, she was never found.
Aside from normal pain that comes with losing an animal, Sadie was not just any dog to Fierros; the dog had been a companion for her mother. Losing Sadie was like losing a part of her mom, Fierros said.
“That was the biggest thing,” Fierros said. “She was my mom’s dog, my mom’s companion and when my mom passed [Sadie] was really sad for a while. Then she became my dog and I was devastated when we couldn’t find her. I cried for months.”
So the notification on Tuesday caught Fierros off guard. And the anxiety of not being able to get through to the shelter—it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays—only added to the uncertainty. But an email from Sadie’s microchip’s manufacturer cleared the air: Sadie had been found, the email read.
“It’s been wonderful, happy, exciting,” Fierros said of receiving the news about Sadie. I’ve been stressed and nervous. I could hardly sleep last night because I was so excited.”
She called Animal Care Services early Wednesday morning to confirm that it was in fact Sadie that had been found. Then she made the trip to pick up her long-lost pup.
She said Sadie was scared and shaking while she was being held in the kennel, but she chalked that up to the chaotic atmosphere.
Though Sadie didn’t answer to her name, Fierros said that a fragment of memory must still exist because the reunion was so natural.
“As soon as I picked her up she put her head on my shoulder which she always used to do,” Fierros said. “She’d always put her little head on my shoulder and kind of cuddle up against me. I don’t think she remembers me but I do think there’s something. That’s what I want to believe.”
Sadie is still the same kind dog that Fierros remembers. She’s hopeful that the adjustment to her new old home will happen quickly.
She’s already had a trip to the groomer and seems to be picking up things where she left off with the family cat, Grimmie, who normally swipes at others but has been gentle with his old friend.
The first place Sadie ran to after arriving back home for the first time was to the room previously occupied by Fierros’ mom. It’s like she never left home.
“Right now I’m just enjoying her and however long I’m going to have her because she is 13-years old,” Fierros said. “She’s a little sweetheart.”