Three years ago, Monica Mathis’s dog Hazel, a terrier mix, disappeared from her front yard. “She was on a leash outside and I went to get her and she was gone from our yard,” Mathis told ABC News.
After an intense search for the dog that came up empty, Monica thought she was gone forever. At the time, Mathis lived in Iowa and later moved to Minnesota for a job.
Three years later, in January of this year, Motorworks Brewing company of Bradenton, Florida, launched a promotional campaign where it featured photos of dogs from a local shelter on cans of beer.
The promotion was to notify the public of the missing dogs while raising money for shelters.
Mathis saw photos of the beer cans on social media and one of the dogs bore an uncanny resemblance to her long lost Hazel. “‘Oh my gosh that looks like my dog, I think that’s my dog,'” Mathis told KSTP. “I have no idea how she got to Florida.”
She reached out to Manatee County Animal Shelter who asked for proof that Hazel was hers.”I sent everything I could find — all the pictures so I could stop an adoption process from happening because I could’ve lost her again,” Mathis said.
Hans Wohlgefahrt of Manatee County Animal Services compared the veterinarian records and photos Mathis sent and saw it was a match.
“This dog was such an important part of her family that she had everything to prove she was her owner,” Wohlgefahrt said.
After looking at the evidence, the shelter agreed that a miracle had happened — Hazel would be reunited with Mathis. “I was amazed, I was crying. An emotional wreck,” Mathis said.
Not only will the two be reunited from across the country, the the nonprofit Friends of Manatee County Animal Services has agreed to cover the costs of transporting Hazel to Minnesota.
“I feel blessed that my baby’s going to get to come home and I get her back, Mathis said according to CNN.
The story of Monica and Hazel comes with a lesson: make sure you keep your microchip information current. Animal services couldn’t connect the dog and owner because the contact information on Hazel’s chip was out of date.
“There was really no way we could trace her back to that particular owner,” Wohlgefahrt said. “It’s a great reminder to people when they do these things to go into their profile and make sure all their contact information is up to date.”
“Keep track of exactly what company you use, make sure your stuff gets updated, especially if your pet goes missing and don’t ever give up,” Mathis said according to The New York Post.