SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – After three years of wondering if their family dog, Ginger, was alive, the George family from Ucross, Wyoming got the answer in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Wednesday.
It all began in August of 2015 in Burlington, Iowa.
In a hotel room in Sioux Falls nearly seven hours away from Burlington, is where we found Kandi Glick, her boyfriend Grant and a dog Glick rescued.
“We started getting a lot of calls saying there was a dog running loose in town,” Glick said. “People said they saw a deceased dog, so I’d go to the spot where they’d say it was and it wouldn’t be there.”
Glick runs the Des Moines County Regional Humane Society. She couldn’t find the deceased dog … because the dog was alive and well … but let’s rewind …
“I actually made a phone call to the husband and said, ‘Hey, were you in Burlington, Iowa about three years ago, this is going to be the weirdest phone call you ever get,'” Glick said.
On the other end was Jennifer George’s husband BJ. The Georges had gotten calls and emails like this before.
“My mom, the dog was originally hers and she had passed away about four months earlier,” George said.
BJ was on a business trip in Burlington and Jennifer didn’t want to leave the dog at a kennel, so they brought her along and she escaped from the house the family was renting.
“Literally 15 minutes we were in the neighborhood looking and never saw a glimpse,” George said.
Jennifer stayed behind and searched for their dog for days with the help of the community, but she was gone. Until last week when Glick started getting calls.
“This is really funny to say, but McDonald’s saved her life. people dumped food at the car wash and it’s McDonald’s, it’s Taco Bell, it’s Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived we don’t know how she did it.”
Glick set up a trap with hot dogs and captured a dog on Saturday who looked a lot like the Georges’ missing dog. Glick scoured a missing pets Facebook page she runs for a post with a phone number from three years ago. She found it. But when the family got the call they were skeptical.
“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn’t look like the same dog,” Glick said.
But a trip to the groomer- revealed what would be key.
“She had on -Jennifer remembered – a purple and lime green collar,” Glick said.
“I think I was speechless,” George said.
It’s a little faded now but the collar held up on the inside — purple and lime green. And through a hail storm on Wednesday, Jennifer and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha made the eight-hour trek from Ucross, Wyoming for the best family reunion.
Ginger was a little confused, but after about 45 seconds, she recognized Samantha and started to get cozy with both her and Jennifer, offering plenty of love and kisses.
George said this reunion is all thanks to Glick.
“She’s just an angel,” George said. “What she does …is she reunites families and she gave us back this dog that meant so much to us and without her people wouldn’t have these moments.”
George credited the power of social media for making all of this happen, with Glick finding the old post with BJ’s phone number on it and calling. Glick said folks in Burlington were so thrilled she had found the family and that it was the Georges’ dog that had been gone for three years, many people donated money for Glick and her boyfriend Grant to make the trip to Sioux Falls to meet up with Jennifer and Samantha.