ORLANDO (Florida) • A fox terrier called Dutchess got out of her owner's house in Orlando, Florida, one day in February 2007 and did not return. A devastated Katheryn Strang made "lost dog" signs and took daily trips to the local shelter for months, desperate to find her.
Last week, Ms Strang finally got the reunion she had been hoping for - 12 years after Dutchess disappeared. A man had found the dog under his shed in the Pittsburgh area, almost 1,600km from Orlando. He took the shivering animal to a shelter where a scan of Dutchess' microchip linked her to Ms Strang, who had moved to Boca Raton, Florida.
At the shelter, Humane Animal Rescue, last Friday, Ms Strang cried as an employee handed her the dog she had always hoped would one day return to her. Staff posted footage of the emotional reunion on Facebook, writing: "This is why we do what we do."
"Dutchess. Hi, baby. I missed you," Ms Strang says in the video as she strokes the dog's face. "Your face is all white."
No one knows how Dutchess made the trek to Pittsburgh - or what she has been doing for the past 12 years. Ms Strang joked that the dog could "tell me some stories", adding that she could not imagine that Dutchess had walked the whole way.
The dog, now 14, was hungry, shaking and "in serious need of a nail trim" when she arrived at the shelter, said Ms Torin Fisher, an admissions counsellor. She was also "a little nervous", Ms Fisher said.
Ms Strang had always held out hope that Dutchess might be found, even after so many years. She paid a US$15 (S$21) annual fee to keep the microchip active, saying last Friday that she would have continued that for years.
"Until she's in your arms, it's just gut-wrenching," she said.