Missing Dog Finds
His Way Home... After 6 Years
by Sherry Morse
The Flores family of Wichita, Kansas received
an early Christmas present this year when their beloved dog
Bear, who had disappeared in November of 1997, made it back
home in time for Thanksgiving in 2003.
Jeanie Flores looked out the window of her
house two days before Thanksgiving to see a dog that looked
exactly like Bear standing outside.
She recalls thinking, "Oh my God. I think
that's my dog!"
She called the dog; and he responded.
Jeanie burst into tears, then called her husband
Frank and told him she thought Bear was really home.
Frank Flores rushed home and, after seeing
the dog, agreed with his wife that the brindle lab-chow mix
was indeed their Bear.
One of the family's neighbors told them she
had spotted Bear a little earlier, walking around and carefully
scrutinizing the houses.
A veterinarian who examined Bear said that
although his paws were red and sore in spots, probably from
pounding the pavement, he only weighed one pound less than
when he disappeared. It appeared that someone had been taking
care of him.
Bear had disappeared in 1997 about one month
after the Flores family had moved to a new neighborhood. Jeanie
let him out for exercise one night, and he never came back.
"I waited up all night for him, and
he never came home," she said.
At the time, Bear's ID tag had not yet been
updated with his new address.
The desperate family put up signs, canvassed
their old neighborhood, ran ads in the paper, and visited
shelters, but, tragically, the dog that Mr. Flores had brought
home as a puppy in 1990 seemed to have disappeared without
Since his extraordinary return home six years
later, Bear has been catching up on his sleep and getting
reacquainted with his family, which includes a son who was
not yet born when the dog disappeared.
The Flores family said they just wish that
Bear could tell them where he's been all this time.
"Where was he? We don't know how rough
a life he's had," Frank Flores said.
© 2003 Animal News Center, Inc.