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18 Incredible Stories of Pets Returning Home

Updated June 20, 2019 15.9k views18 items

List RulesPrepare to feel teary-eyed as you read through these incredible stories of pets doing whatever it takes to find home.

There's nothing more horrible than discovering your dog or cat is missing, and once a pet is lost, it's hard to know whether they'll ever return home. While pet owners can post flyers and go searching for them, it's impossible to know where your fur babies have run off to.

Most of us have seen films about incredible journeys that beloved pets take, overcoming all odds to return to their homes and their families. Miraculously, it's happened in real life, too. Many real pets have undertaken amazing journeys to find their owners, some of them traveling for years to get home.

If you've ever lost a dog or cat, you know how worrisome it can be. Will your furry friend return home on its own? Where has it gone? Is it facing danger? Will your pet go the distance to find home? These amazing animals did! Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged, and hug your dogs and cats as you read these extraordinary stories of pets traveling many miles to return home.
  • Cat Travels 200 Miles Over Two Months to Return Home

    In early November of 2013, Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell cat who'd always lived indoors, bolted from Bonnie and Jacob Richter's camper during a fireworks display near the Daytona Speedway. The Richter's had been routinely traveling with Holly over the previous year and were devastated to lose their cat in a virtual sea of over 3,000 campers and motorhomes. After days of searching, they were forced to return home to West Palm Beach, Florida, without their beloved kitty.

    Fast forward to New Year's Eve, 2014. Barb Mazzola, a 52-year-old university executive assistant, noticed a cat “barely standing” in her backyard in West Palm Beach, struggling even to meow. Mazzola and her family fed the cat, and hoped to keep her, but did the right thing and took her to the vet for a check-up. A microchip was found, indicating that it was the Richter's missing Holly. Her paws and nails were torn and bloody, indicating a great deal of travel over pavement, and she had lost over 6.5 pounds. The treating vet felt that Holly traveled all that way – over 200 miles – herself, and that she certainly hadn't stowed away on a car or with any people.

    Source: New York Times
  • Irish Terrier Crossed the English Channel to Fight Alongside His Master in France

    One of the oldest, and probably most well known, tales of brave dogs traveling many miles to reunite with their masters is one of an Irish Terrier named Prince. In 1914, Private James Brown from Staffordshire, England, was one of the first troops sent to France when war was declared against Germany. Even though Prince was at home with the rest of the family, he was a one-man kind of dog, and he suffered greatly missing his master. One day, he vanished from home. Private Brown's wife was distraught and wrote a letter to her husband letting him know that Prince had gone missing, and she feared the worst.

    However, by the time Private Brown received the letter, Prince had already turned up in France, ready to take on the Germans alongside with his master. Brown's Regiment adopted Prince as a mascot, and he remained in France for the rest of the war, often bearing messages between soldiers in the field. Prince’s story is one of the most baffling examples of animal travel to this very day. In order to find his way to Brown, he would have had to cross the English Channel, a formidable body of water, the crossing of which experienced swimmers consider a great milestone. In regards to Princes's story, the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is said to have investigated it thoroughly and "established its authenticity beyond doubt," leaving it to stand as the most amazing dog journey in history.

    Source: Ross, Estelle. The Book of Noble Dogs, Century Company, 1922. Google Books. Web. Mar 18, 2008
  • Dog Finds Owner After Missing for Five Years

    Myrna Carillo never forgot about her Shih Tzu, Prince, whom had been missing for five years. Since he was initially lost, Myrna moved four times, got married, and had two children. 

    If you move four times in five years, it's hard enough for the mail to find you, let alone a dog, but that is exactly what Prince did. Carillo came home from work, and there he was, after five years, sitting on her front porch. Myrna immediately recognized the furry dog, and the dog recognized her. Carrillo lived at home and was not married when she lost Prince. "I thought I was seeing something. I just hope no one is playing a prank on me," she said.

    Source: NBC 2 Florida

  • Persian Cat Traveled 1,000 Miles Through the Australian Outback to Get Home

    Photo: Payman sazesh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    In 1978, The Hicks family of Adelaide, Australia, dropped their pedigree Persian cat off with their parents, who lived over 1,000 miles away, to be cared for while they took a vacation overseas. Upon returning to retrieve their cat, they were told that he had escaped just two weeks after he had been there, and all efforts to find him had been futile. The family was heartbroken and stayed a month in order to search for him, but to no avail. They returned to Adelaide sans Howie, but couldn't bring themselves to get another cat. It just wouldn't have been the same.

    A year had passed, when one afternoon they found a miserable looking longhaired cat, with a wounded paw, who was filthy and starved. When their daughter, Kirsten, came home from school and saw the cat, she stopped, then ran forward screaming out "Howie! Howie!". The mother was shocked; could this straggly cat be their pedigree Persian? It was. Over 12 months and 1,000 miles, Howie forded rivers, crossed two tracts of hostile desert, and fought his way through the vast wilderness of the Australian Outback. He knew where his home was, and neither distance nor danger could keep him from it.