Katie Gibson has Gus back home after he went missing for almost a year.
By Suzy Price
In March of 2015, a dog was dropped off at Pickens Animal Rescue (PAR). The dog was extremely malnourished, had a broken hip from being hit by a car, and was completely unrecognizable from when he had gone missing a month earlier.
Katie Gibson is an elementary school bus driver for Pickens County, and she keeps her dogs home with wireless fence collars. During last year’s big snow, she and her family went for a ride on their Arctic Cat. Unfortunately, the battery on their blue heeler mix’s collar was running low and Gus decided to follow.
When they realized he was gone, they drove everywhere looking for the dog, but it was too late.
“The area he got lost in was on my bus route, so I would look for him every day when I was running my route,” said Gibson.
Gus was brought to Pickens Animal Rescue by an elderly couple who found him wandering. Heather Harris, a PAR employee, had actually shared a “missing dog” alert of Gus on the group’s Facebook the month before he was brought to the rescue facility. However, after losing 10 pounds and breaking a hip, Gus was unrecognizable when he arrived.
The shelter dubbed him “Mickey,” and since he was not micro-chipped, his owner couldn’t be identified. Pickens Animal Rescue cared for Gus/Mickey at their rescue ranch for the next year.
In February 2016 Harris was scrolling her Facebook newsfeed and a “memory” popped up. It showed a photo from one year before of a missing dog that looked strangely familiar.
“I saw the post, and I immediately thought ‘Oh, that’s totally Mickey,’” said Harris, “and I immediately messaged Katie Gibson to tell her we had her dog.”
Gibson showed up two days later to pick up her beloved dog; Mickey became Gus once again.
According to Harris, Gus’s story shows the importance of micro-chipping your dog.
“If Gus had been micro-chipped, he could have been back with his family within the month,” she said.
Pickens Animal Rescue highly recommends micro-chipping and spaying or neutering your dogs.
Micro-chipping your dog ensures he will be identified if he ever runs away, but few owners have taken advantage of the technology to implant the chips in their dogs.
“I’ve been working here a year-and-a-half and I can’t think of a time when we’ve had a dog come in and it was actually micro-chipped,” Harris said.
Gibson learned her lesson, and immediately went to Tractor Supply to buy new extended-range wireless collars. Gus was neutered and chipped by the rescue group, and Gibson is working towards getting all of her other dogs chipped as well.
Thanks to Facebook memories, Mickey became Gus again and Gus’s story has a happy ending: He is now enjoying his extended-range collar and spending time with Gibson and her four children.