SAN ANTONIO – This San Antonio family’s journey to finding their lost dog involves a birthday, 1,360 miles, Bucc-ee’s and Hurricane Zeta.
In June 2014, Debi Vazquez and her daughter Danae let their three dogs out of their house into their fenced-in backyard so they could relieve themselves, but when it was time for them to come back inside, one of the pups had disappeared.
The family’s two pit bulls came inside when they were called but King, a chihuahua mix, was gone.
“There wasn’t any barking or anything and there are no holes in the fence. He was just gone," Debi told KSAT.
“We had no idea what happened to him. I went to all the vet clinics and tried everything - I made fliers and drove around the neighborhood and checked at the Humane Society - everything," she said.
After months of searching, the family was resigned to the fact that they might never see King again. But then, on Oct. 25, Debi got a voicemail from the Broward County Humane Society (BCHS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - they had King.
The shelter had scanned the chihuahua and discovered he was microchipped.
“It was my birthday. I thought it was someone playing a joke on me,” Debi said. “It was just a miracle. One of my dogs had just died - we had to put her down because she had cancer."
Debi told KSAT that one of her pit bulls, Cookie, had to be put down 13 days prior to the phone call from BCHS. “She brought King home to us 13 days after her passing,” Danae said.
That’s when the two women decided to make the 1,360 mile trip from San Antonio to Fort Lauderdale.
“It took nearly 23 hours for us to drive all the way there,” said Danae. “We would take turns driving.”
Once the duo arrived at BCHS, “all these news stations were there - we felt like King didn’t recognize us right away because of all the cameras but once we walked out of the shelter he knew us immediately," said Danae.
The shelter also provided a free hotel stay overnight for the women to rest before their journey back to Texas on Oct. 28, which Danae said took nearly 30 hours. “We had to park for four hours at a Bucc-ee’s because of Hurricane Zeta. There were tornadoes all around us.”
The family finally made it home to San Antonio safely and reunited King with the family’s other pit bull Rocky. He’s already been on a trip to the Pearl and officially has his own Instagram page.
Both Danae and Debi are happy to finally have King home. “I’ve had him since he was born. I had his mom and he was born inside the house,” said Debi. King was 8 when he disappeared and turned 9 just a month after he vanished. He’s now 15 years old.