A New Jersey man had lost hope of ever seeing his beloved dog Chip after the dog ran off along a busy highway.
A couple weeks ago, Mike Ritchie pulled off the highway to let both of his dogs out and to stretch their legs. Chip, one of the two dogs, made it through one of the windows in the car after leaning on the automatic button and took off.
As the days passed, Ritchie thought Chip was gone forever. His family buried Chip's leash and bones, grieving over the loss of their beloved four-legged friend.
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Ritchie says after that day, he drove back to the area on the highway several times to look for Chip.
"I finally realized I'd never see him again," Ritchie said.
But on Thursday, Chip's family got an unexpected call.
Jill Speckman says she and her friend Kim started Delco Dawgs a couple years ago after being frustrated with the lack of quality animal services in Delaware County.
For about ten days in a row, Speckman said she and her team received numerous calls about a dog running around Eddystone, a small borough neighboring Chester.
“We just assumed it was a runaway or a dump,” Speckman said, meaning a dog who was dumped nearby by its owner.
That assumption ended when Speckman and her team saw the dog wearing a collar with tags, meaning its owner had registered it.
From there, her team set a trap to catch the dog, who kept getting away. They finally caught the dog on Thursday and took it to the vet, where they traced the dog’s tag to an address in Pennsville, New Jersey.
And the magic happened.
When Speckman called the phone number attached to the address, the man who answered the phone said it couldn’t be his dog. But, after talking more, the family made the trip from Pennsville to Chester to see if their dream was really coming true.
“We knew right away,” Speckman said when first witnessing the dog with his long-lost owner. Chip jumped all over his old owner, kissing and licking him and wagging his tail.
Speckman said her team is happy and relieved for this happy ending and heart-warming reunion.
And Ritchie couldn't be happier with the ending, either.
"It opened my heart up to humanity again," he said.
Ritchie said since their reunion, Chip hasn't left his side.
“This owner and this dog were just so perfect, so happy together,” Speckman said.
By Thursday night, Chip was back with his family in New Jersey.