BARNUM, Minn. - They never thought they'd see her again.
Avery, a young female boxer-pit bull mix, had been missing from the lives of Liz and Chad Klavetter for more than 8-months after disappearing from their back yard in Sandstone last June. After calling law enforcement agencies around the region, hanging up fliers, putting her picture on lostdogsminnesota.com and months of keeping in constant contact with the company that sold them her microchip, the couple had lost hope.
It came back Monday night, when the phone rang.
On the other end was a woman from Isanti County who is active in dog rescue. She told them she had their dog.
The whole saga began June 28th, when Avery was playing in the back yard with Liz and Chad's other dog, a lab who was Avery's best pal. Liz didn't worry about keeping that close an eye on the dogs, as they had installed an electric fence that Avery had never dared challenge.
Around supper time she walked out back. Their lab was waiting for her: Avery was gone.
They searched in earnest week after week, month after month, until it started dawning on them that the energetic dog they had adopted from a veterinary program at a Willmar community college would probably not come back. They moved from Sandstone to Barnum, found a house with an acre of land and adopted another dog in need.
The phone call Monday night was completely unexpected, They were told that a woman near Pine City had seen a dog roaming around her house for a number of days. She didn't know what to do so she called a local animal rescue organization, that soon came out and captured the dog. When they checked her for a microchip the dog registered to Liz and Chad. They made arrangements to meet at a gas station in Pine City for a joyous reunion that was captured on videotape.
Liz says Avery is muscular and strong, not the pup they adopted almost a year and a half ago. The dog had a different collar on than the one she was wearing when she disappeared, and appeared fed and well cared for.
Now settling down at her home in Barnum, Avery is acting like she never left. She's playing with her old friend, getting used to a new dog, and sniffing out every tennis ball in sight. "It's very surreal," Liz mused. "I had to wake and tell myself that wasn't a dream."
Liz is keeping a close eye on Avery until she learns the boundaries of her new electric fence. She says their story underlines the importance of having your dog microchipped, and urges everyone to keep an eye out for dogs that may have wandered away from their homes and owners. That way, there will be more happy endings... like the one they're living today.