Petey, a Jack Russell terrier, is back home after year and half missing
BRADENTON -- A lucky 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier will spend Christmas with his family after being apart from them for almost two years.
Landon Howes, 19, received Petey as a gift for his fifth birthday. The dog was taken from his back yard more than a year and a half ago
On Dec. 18, employees with Bishop Animal Shelter posted an adoption photo of a dog named Lovie on its Facebook page. The Bradenton shelter was soon flooded with comments by those who recognized Petey.
Petey's family rushed to the shelter at 5718 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, to claim their dog.
When he saw them, Petey whined and cried. Shelter officials said he had been a quiet dog.
According to the shelter, the Bayshore High graduate said he and his family were thinking about Petey the day before.
Howes' mother, Leeanne, told the shelter she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Petey on Facebook.
"I knew instantly it was him from the scar on his leg," she said.
After the emotional reunion, a photo of Landon holding Petey was posted on the shelter's Facebook page with the caption: "PETEY IS HOME!" The post with the smiling teen and his pup was flooded with nearly 60 comments.
Some are calling it a Christmas miracle.
"Now I'm crying tears of joy, too!!! So awesome!!" wrote Robyn Cade.
Shirley Witten wrote she's known the Howes family for years and watched Landon and Petey grow up together.
"Merry Christmas Petey to you and your family!!!" she wrote.
Linda Lutz Linkhorn said she loved the photo and was so happy for the family.
"Truly an unbelievable story and a Christmas miracle!" she wrote.
In another photo of Petey snuggling against Landon in a car, John Smith Jr. said he thinks Petey is really a cat with nine lives.
"Happy for you Landon. .... What a great Christmas present!" Smith Jr. wrote.
Later, Leeanne shared with her Facebook friends she was still in shock.
"He is the same old Pete," she wrote. "Little more blind maybe a little hard of hearing and for sure a little slower. He's one old dude now. Still has the Mohawk."
She thanked Bishop Animal Shelter again for helping to bring Petey back home.
"I can't say it enough," she commented on the shelter's posting. "It really means so much."
Landon also thanked everyone for their warm feedback and said Petey was sleeping.
"He's had a really long day and is still really excited to be home," the teen wrote. "Thank you again everyone!"
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.