Daphne family reunited with dog nearly two years after going missing

An Alabama family gets reunited with their dog nearly two years after it went missing. (Source: WALA)
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 9:51 PM CST
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DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - A Daphne family still in shock after the plot twist of a lifetime.

The Elleard’s family dog “Leroy” ran away nearly two years ago. He slipped out their back door last May, and after frantically searching for about six months, the family thought he was gone for good.

Now, he’s back home, all thanks to a Daphne animal control officer and a microchip.

The tearful reunion captured on video right after the kids stepped off the school bus.

“There were a lot of nights putting them to bed, telling them it’s going to be okay, the kids, and a little bit of depression, and now he’s here,” said Robert Elleard. “It’s just so unexpected. It’s like a dream.”

Monday, Daphne animal control officer Jessie Payne responded to a call that two stray dogs had weaseled through someone’s fence. One of those was Leroy. He was extremely matted.

Payne took both dogs to the shelter and found Leroy had been microchipped, which she said was his saving grace.

“It played a huge role,” said Payne. “I never would have known who he was or where he came from without the microchip or the fact he’d been missing. May would be two years since he’s been missing.”

Karen Elleard remembered the moment she got the life-changing phone call.

“I get a phone call, and she’s like, ‘this is Officer Payne, did you lose a dog?’ and I was like, ‘almost two years ago, yes,’ and that’s when she said the microchip gave her my information, and that’s how they were able to track us down,” said Elleard. “I just couldn’t believe it. We both started crying and started walking back to the house, and she said she’ll be here in ten minutes, and we said ‘okay! we’ll be here!’”

Here’s when Robert and Karen saw Leroy for the first time again.

Elleard family reunited with Leroy
Elleard family reunited with Leroy(Daphne Animal Shelter)

After a quick haircut, he jumped right back into his old life in perfect health, and almost like he never left.

Officer Payne said it was an unbelievable reunion.

“It was amazing, it really was,” said Payne. “I don’t get opportunities like that much in my job, to have that happy ending every day, and just the smile on mom’s face. He immediately went into ecstatic mode.”

Leroy got all the belly rubs, and even visited a friend at the shelter, his travelling partner now named, Sherlock.

The real-life Lewis and Clark went on quite the adventure together through Daphne.

Sherlock was also very matted and not microchipped. He will soon be up for adoption if no owner comes forward, but he may already have a taker.

Daphne, AL
Daphne, AL(daphne animal shelter)

“We really don’t know how long they travelled together, I know sherlock is a little older than Leroy, but we’ll see,” said Karen.

Daphne, AL
Daphne, AL(Daphne Animal Shelter)

The dogs were found only two miles from the Elleard’s home.

The family wanted to thank the community for being so invested in finding Leroy, and of course, they recommended getting pets microchipped.

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