A Siberian husky missing since April from Phoenix, Ariz., is on his way back home from Pendleton, and just in time for Christmas.
Kane’s owner, Leanne Saunders, said she and her 7-year-old son can’t wait to see their pet.
“I already got him a new collar and new name tag and everything,” Saunders said. “I’m super excited.”
Kane showed up Dec. 10 in the 800 block of Southgate, Pendleton. Local animal advocate Cindy Spiess saw the leashed dog trotting and notified police, which put him in the city pound for a week. The Pendleton Welfare Animal Shelter took the dog Monday.
“We’re not sure how he got to Oregon,” Saunders said, but she suspected someone stole Kane because he is friendly.
The Saunders last saw their 9-year-old pet in April. “We woke up one night, and he was just gone,” Saunders said.
Saunders, 26, a pet groomer, said she and her son adore Kane, and being gone for any real length of time wasn’t in the dog’s nature.
For weeks she plastered posters of Kane around the city, she said, including at Petco, where she works. She put messages on websites. She called every nearby veterinary clinic. She checked with the Humane Society.
And each Wednesday she went to see the new dogs at the Phoenix city pound.
“I did everything I could think of,” she said.
Saunders got Kane from the Phoenix Humane Society’s animal shelter about four and a half years ago. “I saw him before he was even up for adoption, and I wanted him,” she said. “He’s a beautiful, beautiful dog, and one of the coolest dogs I have ever had. He just has one of those personalities.”
While Kane was missing, Saunders said she had a few calls from folks claiming they found him, but each time it wasn’t hers.
“I gave up hope,” Saunders said.
Tuesday she got a call at about 11 p.m. from Marcia Flemmer, president of the Pioneer Humane Society, which operates the Pendleton shelter. Flemmer used the dog’s identity chip to track down Saunders, and it took some effort.
Saunders said she had moved and changed her name, but Flemmer was persistant. Still, Saunders said, “I didn’t want to get my hopes up” because of those past calls.
Then she received a digital picture of the dog. Saunders saw Kane for the first time in almost nine months.
“He needs a bath real bad,” she said, but otherwise looked healthy. Brenda Saunders, Leanne’s mother, said her daughter “was just elated” to see Kane.
Knowing the canine was safe was a relief, but the family had no way to get him home. Brenda Saunders said neither she nor her daughter have the means to drive the 2,300-mile round trip between Phoenix and Pendleton. And flying the dog out of Pendleton was a no-go because Kane weighs more than 40 pounds.
Pendleton shelter manager Sherry Zweig said Friday that Kane is heading home Saturday. Zweig will take Kane to the Petco in Walla Walla, where the store manager will drive the dog to the airport in Pasco, Wash., for a Delta flight to Phoenix. Saunders said her manager will drive her to the airport, where she and Kane will reunite.
Saunders said she had hoped she would get Kane before Christmas, and this year, it looks like she’ll get what she wants.
Contact Phil Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0833.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.