Young Frankie Pruitt was sitting at home drinking hot chocolate, one morning eight years ago, when Petunia the pit bull raced out of the house and across the meadows with the family’s other dogs to visit the alpacas on the family’s Virginia farm. It was all part of the daily routine. No one took any notice.
Nor did they worry when the other dogs came back in a while later – but without Petunia. She’d wander back in soon enough. Except this time she didn’t.
Frankie and his family didn’t worry at first. In rural Spotsylvania County, they figured, someone would see their missing-dog signs. Neighbors saw the signs; they just didn’t see Petunia. Days turned into weeks and, as winter wore on, the family gave up hope of seeing her again. Frankie was inconsolable; he’d loved Petunia since his dog had brought her home as a puppy when he was seven.
Fast forward eight years.
A few days after Thanksgiving this year, Meg Eden, a wildlife biologist from Oregon, was camping in the Spenceville Wildlife Area in California, a remote area of grasslands and oak trees with mountain lions, foxes and coyotes, miles from the nearest home. Eden heard howling at night. One morning, a dog appeared over a hill and came toward Eden with her tail wagging.
Eden is no stranger to rescuing dogs, but she was careful of the pit bull at first. But the dog was very friendly and simply snuggled down with her own dogs in the tent that night.
When she got home, took the dog to her local shelter, where a routine scan for a microchip indicated that this was a dog called Petunia who could be traced to a veterinary hospital in Virginia where she’d been microchipped as a puppy. Later that day, Frankie’s mom got a call from her vet’s office.
The reunion took place in the Fox & FriendsTV studio. Fox had offered to pay for Eden to accompany Petunia across the country. The end result is an over-the-top-cheesy interview – Gretchen Carlson on the sofa of the studio with the parents and daughter (but not Frankie) – and an overdose of the usual “How do you feel as you get ready to meet Petunia after so long when we come back from these messages blah blah?” while we see the dog waiting outside the studio. Still, it’s the Holidays, so get out the Kleenex, folks.
Does Petunia actually recognize her family at first? See for yourself. (At least she doesn’t snap at Gretchen Carlson! … O.K. I guess Gretchen got to meet Petunia in advance to be sure all would go well.)
But who cares? It’s amazing and delightful that Petunia is home again and back with the family. And as to what happened … who knows? From home in a well-to-do part of rural Virginia, to a completely remote part of California, and, eight years later, back again.
Only Petunia knows. And she isn’t saying!