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Dog goes AWOL from Alabama, ends up in Dodge City

Dog lost in Alabama reunited in Kansas with its owners

A dog that wandered off from her home in Alabama last month surprised her owners by being located in, of all places, Dodge City, Kansas. On June 15, 2017, June, a mixed-breed 1-year-old, was discovered missing by her owners, Jacob Thomas and Julie
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A dog that wandered off from her home in Alabama last month surprised her owners by being located in, of all places, Dodge City, Kansas. On June 15, 2017, June, a mixed-breed 1-year-old, was discovered missing by her owners, Jacob Thomas and Julie

A dog that wandered off from her home in Alabama last month surprised her owners by being located in, of all places, Dodge City.

On June 15, June, a mixed-breed 1-year-old, was discovered missing by her owners, Jacob Thomas and Julie Nguyen of Mobile, Ala., after they returned home from work.

“She had actually chewed through the bottom of the wooden fence gate in the yard,” Nguyen said when reached by phone on Wednesday. “We’re thinking she was chasing after a cat, because we saw some paw prints.”

In a story first reported by Michelle Matthews of Alabama Media Group, June’s owners went looking for their AWOL dog around Mobile in the days that followed.

“I went on social media to see if anyone might have picked her up,” Nguyen said. “A lady had actually posted a picture of (June) soaking wet. She said she was just hanging around at her office, so I messaged her on Facebook.”

Unfortunately, the woman wasn’t able to keep June in her sight. Nguyen said the dog was then seen at a number of businesses, including a pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom, where she made friends with a bartender.

After a few days, however, the trail went cold. Nguyen, 34, and Thomas, 35, figured June might have found a new home and had all but given up hope of finding her.

To everyone’s surprise, however, Thomas received a call on June 27 from the Dodge City Veterinary Clinic. They found his information from the microchip June carries.

Thomas thought, Nguyen said, the caller was making a reference to Dodge City, Ala., a town of about 600 people north of Birmingham.

“He’s from north Alabama, and there’s a Dodge City right outside his hometown,” Nguyen said. “He said, ‘How in the world did she get all the way up to north Alabama?’ Then the vet said, ‘No, we’re in Dodge City, Kansas.’ ”

Without much of an explanation as to how their dog had traveled more than 1,000 miles across the country, the couple started to plan what would be a whirlwind 16-hour weekend road trip.

“We set up a little air mattress in the back of my SUV, and we went up to Kansas,” Nguyen said. “Once we got there, sure enough, that was June in Dodge City.”

We set up a little air mattress in the back of my SUV, and we went up to Kansas.

Julie Nguyen, June’s owner

Justyna Price, a veterinary technician at the Dodge City clinic, said two teenage boys from the area brought June in for a checkup on June 26. They had picked her up, thinking she must have been a stray, on their way back from vacationing in Florida.

They had hoped to keep June, but the folks at the clinic figured it wasn’t likely she was a stray – she seemed so well-trained and social.

Sure enough, the microchip information led back to Thomas in Alabama, and the boys were left disappointed.

“We kind of explained to the boys that, legally, June already had an owner,” Price said. “She had some scrapes, but she was in good shape. We had her for about a week in all, and she was just a social butterfly, always wanting to visit with the other dogs and have people love on her.”

Nguyen said there are no hard feelings toward the boys.

“They just saw a friendly dog and wanted to keep her,” Nguyen said. “It’s understandable. We’re just happy to have her back.”

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath

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