Lost Dog Leaves Duluth to Reunite with Family in Florida

By KBJR News 1

January 17, 2013 Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM CST

It's going to be a long ride home for a dog who found himself in Minnesota after escaping his owner's yard in Florida.

Endo the mastiff and his companion escaped in May of 2011.

The family heard from a neighbor that they saw one of their dogs being attacked by an alligator. The family assumed Endo had suffered the same fate, and gave up hope of him coming home.

"They unfortunately assumed the worst for poor Endo," says Betsy Bode of Animal Allies.

You can imagine their surprise when they picked up the phone nearly two years later.

"It was something like, 'get the heck out of here'. They were just absolutely stunned."

1800 miles away in Cape Coral, Florida, Endo's family was thrilled.

"I know the family is very excited about seeing him again so I'm hoping he has the same reaction," says Karie Vanderwerf.

Vanderwerf is an animal lover who volunteer to drive Endo the full distance of his trip from Duluth to Florida.

Thanks to the help of numerous volunteers, and his driver Karie, Endo started his long journey from snow to beach Wednesday.

And he's got a few stops to make along the way.

"We're going to stop in several different areas we're stopping in Champaign, we're stopping in Kentucky, and then someone wants to see him in North Florida, so we'll sort of meet his fans on the way down," says Vanderwerf.

The animal shelter is using Endo's story as an opportunity to remind people about micro-chipping.

"The best thing you can do is if you find an animal is to bring it into animal control, or the vets office, or the humane society, we can scan them and get all the contact information," says Bode.

For Endo, the simple procedure now has him loading up for the long journey home, as the wheels get rolling on his second chance at having a family.

Courtney Godfrey
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