Only about 25 percent of dog owners keep their microchip information current, said animal-shelter worker Alexandra Heule. But when she called the Moores — now living in Oregon — they answered.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In human years, it had been a long time.
In dog years, even longer.
Still, there was little awkwardness during Friday’s reunion of Tabitha Moore and Tyra, a purebred Rottweiler believed stolen from her Warrensburg, Mo., home five years ago.
“Remember me?” Moore asked as Tyra circled her at Kansas City’s animal shelter. Moore stroked Tyra’s back and then behind her ears. Within minutes, Tyra was on her back, paws in the air.
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“I thought I would never see her again,” Moore said.
Last week, operators of the KC Pet Project, the nonprofit that operates the city’s main animal shelter, received Tyra as a stray. A dog lover had seen her near 38th Street and Smart Avenue and took her to the Rescue Project, an animal-outreach group that kept her overnight before taking her to the shelter.
Shelter staff members checked for a microchip. Perhaps one of every 10 strays has one, said Alexandra Heule, the shelter’s lost-and-found coordinator.
Tyra’s chip identified her owners as Tabitha and Michael Moore.
Only about 25 percent of dog owners keep their microchip information current, Heule said. But when she called the Moores — now living in Oregon — they answered.
The news thrilled the Moores. Just the day before, they had to put down their Siberian husky.
Tabitha Moore, a former member of the U.S. Air Force security forces, had purchased the Rottweiler at a San Antonio pet store during a training assignment. Moore, a fan of “America’s Next Top Model,” starring Tyra Banks, gave the dog the supermodel’s name.
Five years ago, Tyra disappeared from the family’s fenced yard.
It remains unclear to the Moores who would have taken her but left the family’s other dogs. Although the Moores distributed fliers to homes within a 3-mile radius, no one reported seeing her.
At the time, Tyra had not been spayed. Moore wondered whether somebody wanted to breed her. But there was no way of knowing. About a year later, Moore left Whiteman Air Force Base for a new assignment in Oregon.
The local family was pleased with the dog’s reunion with her original owners, Heule said.
Although the healthy-looking Tyra tested positive for heartworm, the Moores have pledged to address that, Heule said.
To help the Moores with travel expenses, Heule established an online fundraising campaign that quickly raised $1,200, which the Moores put toward an airplane ticket and motel, rental car and gas.
By Friday afternoon, Moore and Tyra already had left, heading west on a three-day, 1,800-mile journey.
When Tyra arrives in Oregon, she will join the Moores’ five other dogs, their two cats and 11-year-old son, who was excited to learn that Tyra is coming back.
“He said ‘Oh good, we have another dog,’” Moore said.