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Pet Tales: Disappearing dog turns up with new owners

Heather Warlick: Readers share their pet tales.
BY Heather Warlick Published: October 1, 2012

Pet tales

Disappearing dog turns up

When Heidi Gilmore's dog Spunky disappeared, she searched for two days, unsuccessfully. The Oklahoma City woman said she'd almost given up hope when, on a Friday in 2009, she came home from work to find Spunky waiting for her on her doorstep. Spunky was dirty, matted and bleeding from the nose.

“I almost didn't recognize him, he was so filthy,” Gilmore said. Her Shih Tzu was whimpering and crying. Gilmore scooped him up and took him directly to her veterinarian.

The vet told Gilmore that Spunky seemed to have internal bleeding and that he needed surgery. When Spunky went under the knife, the veterinary surgeon found a laceration in the dog's intestines which was leaking bile into his system. It seemed he'd either been kicked hard, or hit by a car.

The laceration was repaired but the dog would need a blood transfusion. Had Spunky not turned up, he likely would have died soon, the vet told Gilmore.

“We almost lost our little guy,” she said. The vet bill was nearly $1,500.

After the surgery, Gilmore took her dog home to recover. After just a few days, Spunky was back to his usual self, digging holes in the backyard, always searching for an escape route.

Just a few months later, Spunky found his way out of Gilmore's backyard once again, never to be found.

A few months after that, while visiting a friend at her Oklahoma City apartment complex, Gilmore spied a dog that looked almost exactly like Spunky, but even more handsome and well-groomed than ever. The dog had a shiny coat of long, luxurious fur and looked happy and healthy.

Gilmore approached the dog, which was in the center of a group of young Asian people who appeared to be students. The dog seemed to recognize Gilmore, wagging his tail excitedly as she approached.

Still thinking this might be her Spunky, she patted the dog and coaxed him to roll over. There, on his belly, was a long, scar — faded, but definitely there.

Gilmore felt sure it was Spunky now. But, she didn't have the heart to try and take him back from his new owners, who obviously were taking good care of him.

Gilmore had already adopted a new dog from the shelter, one she found while she was searching for Spunky after his disappearance. Her new dog, a Lhasa apso, looked quite a bit like Spunky, so Gilmore named him Spunky Too.

“We miss Spunky, but I'm so glad I saw him,” she said. “I can rest easier knowing that he is alive and being taken care of.”

To submit a pet story and photo, email your story and photo to or mail it to Heather Warlick, The Oklahoman, P.O. Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Photos cannot be returned.


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