A 7-year-old pitbull by the name of Chief was seen roaming in solitude near East Lynn Lake, which is approximately 20 miles east of the Kentucky boundary.
The dog was taken to a nearby animal shelter and upon scanning the microchip that Tara Hillis had implanted in him during his puppyhood, it was discovered that he belonged to her from Atlanta.
“I honestly thought I’d never see him again. Initially, I thought maybe someone took him to try to breed him, but he’s fixed. So many years go by, you just really miss him,” Tara Hillis said to WSAZ.
“So many years go by, you’re just kinda like, ‘Oh, I miss him,” Hillis added, and noted she had almost given up all home of ever being reunited with her pet dog.
In 2017, when Chief was only 1-and-a-half years old, he disappeared from the owner’s property, causing the owner to feel overjoyed upon his return.
Initially, Hillis had suspicions about someone taking him from her yard, but she eventually concluded that he had probably either jumped over or dug his way out from under her fence.
It is possible for Chief to escape as the dog had already broken loose from the Huntington District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is situated close to East Lynn Lake, when he was initially found wandering a week ago. During the week, Chief stayed in their office as the rangers attempted to find his owner.
“Unfortunately, the dog escaped from them,” a spokesperson mentioned to Fox News, and also said that after a brief period, Chief was taken to the Huntington-Cabell-Wayne Animal Control Shelter.
According to shelter officials, Chief is a friendly and healthy canine.
“He’s just a big baby,” said the shelter’s K-9 behavior specialist Rachel Boone.
The questions surrounding Chief’s escape, his 470-mile journey away from home, and his activities over the past six years may remain unsolved, but Hillis expressed her overwhelming joy at the prospect of reuniting with her daring pet, which could happen as early as Monday.
Hillis anticipates being flooded with feelings, reminiscent of her reaction upon receiving the first call from the shelter, but she is optimistic that Chief will recognize her.
“I can’t believe this,” Tara Hillis stated. “This is insane. Every time I’d talk about it that day, I’d get chill bumps.”