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Lost dog returned to owner after eight months

Posted at 8:33 PM, Oct 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-19 23:22:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After nearly eight months of surviving freezing cold to hot temperatures, local gas station employees returned a missing dog to its owner.

Liz Rumney told FOX 17 she adopted Kami, who she believes to be a three-year-old Shih Tzu mix, from her friend, Kristi Powers, who was fostering the dog. Then, just three weeks later, a friend let Kami outside and she bolted.

“It was freezing rain, and it was below zero a couple of nights, because I slept with my door open, like propped open, on the couch,” said Rumney. “I thought if she comes home, I don’t want her not to be able to get in.”

Rumney, a Lake Haven Animal Rescue volunteer, said dozens of people looked for Kami for months, prompting her to get up to five calls per day with people telling her sightings of her missing Kami. Then Saturday night, Rumney got a call she at first did not believe: two employees at a gas station along Alpine Ave. NW and Richmond St. NW said they had found Kami.

“We’ve been in contact today, just grateful words, a lot of tears and talking to her today,” said Cathy Armstrong, one employee who helped catch Kami. “I guess Kami will go to the groomer tomorrow and the vet, then hopefully we’ll meet her soon after that and see how she’s doing.”

Both Armstrong and her daughter Ashley said they fed Kami every night since mid-summer. Then Saturday they bought a live trap to catch Kami and return her to her owner.

“I would see her walking across the parking lot, and I would just set it down and leave because she would not come near me, she was always scared, would always run when I tried to catch her,” said Ashley Armstrong. “That’s when I got the idea to get a trap, it’s kind of bad, but some good came from it.”

Both parties told FOX 17 they are grateful to have found and returned Kami. They reiterate that it’s Kami’s accurate collar that saved her life.

“A couple weeks ago in the parking lot I saw the dog, and my headlights glinted off something, so I could tell she had a collar on,” said Cathy. “With winter coming we just wanted to get her out of the cold.”

Lake Haven Animal Rescue Director Cheryl McCloud told FOX 17 that Kami was one of nearly 140 so-called "pixie pups" that were taken to the shelter. They were rescued from a breeder who is still on probation for hoarding and breeding these animals earlier this year.