Dog reunited with Alabama family after nearly 2 years missing

DECATUR, Ala. -- Nearly two years after an Alabama family lost their pet dog, their beloved pooch has come home – all thanks to an adoption representative who remembered him.

When furry friends run away, it can feel like a dead end. In November of 2017, the Neil family lost their dog Earl after he was spooked by shots at the beginning of hunting season.

"He was gone," said Pete Neil, who was walking Earl when he took off running. "Nowhere to be found."

The family posted Earl's photo in several Facebook groups, including "Track My Paws" and contacted local animal shelters to see if anyone had found him. One representative at Decatur Animal Services remembered Earl, and became close to Susan Neil.

"Every time we would go to Huntsville, I would look out over the water on those islands for a white spot to see if I saw Earl," said Alane Ward, an adoption representative from Decatur Animal Services.

Susan continuously posted on Facebook and checked in with Alane, not giving up hope of finding Earl.

On Wednesday, a year and a half after Earl ran away, someone came to Decatur Animal Services in late May to "owner-surrender" a dog. Alane knew she recognized him, but didn't know how.

"I don't know if we have had him or not, he's just a little old man," Ward told WHNT. "And for some reason, something just hit me when I said old man, and I was like, 'That's Ms. Susan's dog!'"

Alane found Susan's number and called her immediately. Susan asked her to look for a recognizable scar, and became overwhelmed when Alane found it.

"Immediately, she got choked up," said Ward. "I got goosebumps."

Pete arrived at the shelter first, and Alane said with work clothes and all, he immediately got down on the floor to see Earl.

"The dog recognized him immediately," said Ward. "He was licking him in the face and even though he was 12, he was bouncing all over the floor."

Pete calls the entire story a miracle. "I guess you would say it's a miracle because I was getting to the point where I wasn't expecting to get him back," he said. "We are just really, really lucky."

The Humane Society recommends if you lose a pet:

    Never give up hope! You never know when your furry friend may scamper back into your life.