A Hallsville family had almost given up hope that their precious dog would ever find his way back to them, but with the help of a man over 80 miles away, their pup is safe at home nine months after he went missing.
Bigfoot, a brown and white Akita, went missing in November 2012. The Sullivan family has owned him since he was a puppy. Elayna Sullivan says Bigfoot usually cools his paws at her husband's business in Longview.
"Our customers love him and he loves the air conditioned office in the summer," says Elayna.
One weekend, the family decided to take a trip out to their property in Hallsville and brought Bigfoot along. When the family came outside the next morning, their dog was gone. They initially thought Bigfoot chased feral hogs off the property and gotten lost, but after searching the area for weeks they found no sign of the pup
Elayna says she posted ads on Craig's List, Facebook, and multiple classified ads in hopes of finding their dog. She also called animal shelters in Longview, Hallsville, and Marshall hoping someone had picked Bigfoot up. Lost Dogs of Texas even made a flyer for the missing dog, which the Sullivan family posted in local businesses.
"I had a very nice lady in Hallsville who had seen the flyer at Dairy Queen call me wanting to help look for him. She would call every few days with any new info she had," recalls Elayna.
Six months after Bigfoot disappeared, the Sullivans had almost given up. The family figured their loving dog might have been hit by a car or killed by another animal. In an effort to move on, they adopted a dog from the Humane Society, but just one month later that dog was hit by a car and killed. Elayna says her husband was devastated and had given up.
On August 13, Joseph McDowell of Texarkana contacted Elayna and told her he thought he might have her dog.
"I actually laughed at him. It had been nine months since we lost him and it wasn't likely," says Elayna.
Joseph sent her a picture of the dog and Elayna says she tried to stay calm just in case it wasn't him. He sent a second picture that included the dog's face and she knew she was looking at Bigfoot. The traveling pup had shown up at Joseph's grandparent's home in Jefferson, over 30 miles away. He took Bigfoot home, but had a feeling that there was probably someone out there looking for him. Jospeh found Elayna's ad and gave her a call.
"I'm not sure how far he had to go back because I don't remember the last time I posted it," explains Elayna.
Joseph's mother Cecilia McDowell and his sister volunteered to meet the Sullivan family at a Jefferson restaurant. Bigfoot immediately recognized her husband's truck as they pulled in the parking lot and started barking in excitement.
"Cecilia was waiting outside with her daughter with Bigfoot on a leash," recalls Elayna.
Bigfoot is now back home in Longview after a stay at the veterinarian's office. His miles of travels left him with a bad case of fleas and an infection.
As for the Sullivan family? They're just glad to have their pup back home.
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