For many people, losing a dog is like having a death in a family. One Green Country family lost all hope until a phone call changed everything.
Last Spring, Brynda Bolte was headed out the front door of her Osage County home when her two Westies, Shannon and Claire, dashed out of the house and into the woods. Bolte thinks the duo spotted a deer.
She wasn't able to go after them because her hands full and she thought they'd come back on their own but they didn't until the next morning.
"I hear this 'cheet, cheet, cheet, cheet.' I jump up. I was kind of hoping and praying that they would come home and I open up the door and there's Shannon - just Shannon," Bolte said.
The other Westie, Claire, was no where to be found. Brynda's husband went door-to-door looking for the pup but came up empty.
"I heard a pack of dogs get a hold of a little dog last night, so we figured she was gone," Bolte said, tearing up.
Bolte figured she would never see Shannon's sidekick again. Months passed and the Bolte family decided to get another dog named "Pepper."
Then everything changed the day before Thanksgiving.
"My phone rings, and I don't recognize the number and I pick it up and hear, 'Hi this is Carolyn from the Humaine Society of North Central Arkansas," Brynda Bolte said.
An Arkansas animal shelter had done a routine scan of a stray dog's microchip.
"She says, 'we have Claire,' and I just stood there thinking - because this is seven months later," Brynda said.
Somehow Claire had gone on a 200 mile adventure to Arkansas.
"Who would of thought to look in Arkansas? I sure wouldn't. I didn't. I didn't think she would leave the neighborhood," the happy dog owner said.
"She rode in my lap the whole way home we got her in the house and with in two hours it's like she never been gone," she said.
Bolte never thought she would get Claire back. It was all made possible by a chip placed inside her dog with the owner's vital contact information.
"If your dogs are not chipped - get them chipped," Bolte said. "Even better than tags and collars get them chipped."
Almost all veterinanians will chip your dogs, and it can be done at any time in the dog's life. Expect to pay around $80 to get the chip put in and the registration paperwork sent off.
Animal Rescue Organizations urge owners to always update your contact info with the chip companies.