When a pet owner loses his or her dog and is fortunate to reunite with the pet, the first question that comes to mind is “where have you been all this time?” However, the majority of pet reunions never get an answer. Allison and David Marks lost their Shetland sheepdog named Willie six years ago, and thanks to a microhip, they were reunited this December. Best of all, the pet owners learned exactly how Willie spent the last six years.
On April of 2009, the Marks went on vacation to Pioche Hills (a mountain range in southeastern Nevada) and took their three Shetland sheepdogs with them. Willie and his fur brother Waylon took off running after a rabbit but only Waylon returned.
The pet owners posted fliers and looked for their pet everyday of their vacation, but once vacation was over, the family had to go back home without Willie.
Six years later, the Marks couldn’t believe when an animal shelter in Elko, Nevada, called to say they had picked up Willie as a stray. Elko was hundreds of miles away from where the Shetland sheepdog had gotten lost and it had been years since Marks had seen their dog.
It turns out Willie walked 300 miles from Pioche Hills to Eureka, Nevada, back in 2009. There, the town sheriff picked up the dog who was in very bad shape and had a leg injury. After nursing him back to health, the sheriff gave the dog to a local woman who had cared and loved the pet all this time as if the dog was her own.
This December, Willie took off running again and that’s when he was picked up by the animal shelter, scanned for a chip and reunited with his original family.
David Marks told ABC News the woman who cared for Willie all these years was a bit broken hearten to lose her dog, but she understood Willie is back where he belongs.
“[Reuniting with Willie] was an absolute surprise and the perfect Christmas gift,” said Marks. “We’ve been introducing him again to everybody, but it’s just like he never left.”