For many dogs, 11 years is their whole life. But for a Shar-Pei/Lab mix, 11 years of his life was just the beginning. When the mixed race named Vader was only nine months old, he disappeared. After many attempts to locate him, his family lost hope that he would ever come home.
But after 11 long years, Vader’s human received shocking news: Vader was found! The puppy was in bad shape, but his family was there for him right away. Poor Vader must have had quite the adventure after all these years, but now it’s finally time for him to be pampered and loved again.
11 years apart
Angela Surrett said she lost Vader in 2011 when her 19-year-old daughter was just eight years old. Surrett’s then-husband gave the puppy to a stranger without Surrett’s consent. After that, they never saw their beloved pup again.
“We’ve always loved him. He’s just the sweetest, craziest, silly dog,” Surrett said.
Surrett has been a member of the US military for 16 years, so she’s moved several times since Vader’s disappearance. The family was living in San Antonio, Texas, when he went missing, and Surrett has lived outside of Texas twice since. She is currently in Texas but preparing to move again.
On April 7, 2022, Surrett received a phone call she never expected. It was from the Conroe Animal Shelter who said they had Vader in their care. Surrett couldn’t believe it, so of course she found a way to pick him up.
Never too late to be loved
The shelter had scanned Vader’s microchip and was still linked to Surrett’s contact information. Lauri Nettles, a shelter worker, sent pictures of Vader to Surrett. Though Vader was severely malnourished, Surrett could still see that he was the puppy she’d lost years ago.
The shelter could only hold Vader for five days, so Surrett quickly found a way to pick him up. She drove four hours there and back to pick up the puppy and take it home. When Father saw Surrett and her daughter, he brightened up as much as he could. He seemed to recognize them, despite how much time passed!
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“Whatever his journey, I felt responsible because if he had lived with me all that time, he would have been taken care of and he would have had a wonderful life,” Surrett said.
It’s unclear where Vader has been all these years, but it seems he had a hard life. So Surrett will make sure he can live the rest of his life comfortably. He moves in with the family’s four other rescue dogs and the cat they had when he was a puppy. Surrett advises other dog parents to microchip their pets, because otherwise Vader might never have come home.
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