Nine years after vanishing from outside her Australian family's home, Muffy the dog was reunited with her eager owners today after completing a mysterious journey of 1,200 miles.
Inspectors with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found the fluffy white mutt last month sleeping on a scrap of cardboard in the backyard of a home in the southern city of Melbourne. A microchip in Muffy's neck identified her owners — who hadn't seen her since she disappeared from their backyard in the eastern city of Brisbane nine years ago.
On Tuesday, 17-year-old Chloe Rushby cradled her long-lost pooch in her arms, marveling at her pet's much-delayed and miraculous return.
"I feel totally overwhelmed," the teen said. "I'm never letting her out of my sight again."
The owners of the Melbourne house where Muffy was discovered said they found the dog about a year ago wandering along a street. But Muffy's whereabouts for the previous eight years — along with how she made the journey to Melbourne — remain a mystery.
Muffy was suffering from a flea-induced skin infection when she was found, but after some love and care from the RSPCA's vets, she is doing much better.
Chloe's father Dean Rushby said the family's two pet dogs both died in the past few months, so Muffy's return came at the perfect time.
"Chloe has everything ready — she has a big bedroom and that's where Muffy will be sleeping every night from now on," the elder Rushby said. "And in the day, there's a lovely sandy beach on the canal where she can play and go for a little paddle."