A couple was at a shopping mall parking lot when they found a dog tied to a dumpster. Upon closer inspection, they realized there was a note on the ground and knew they had to search for his owner.
In May 2017, a then-6-year-old terrier mix was found tied to a dumpster in a shopping mall parking lot in South Carolina with a note nearby, which read: “Free Pup. My name is Scooter. Owner Went To Jail Today.” A couple who found him there quickly freed him and took photos to post them online in hopes of finding his owner.
The photos were soon shared widely on the internet and seen by Paula Langford, the founder of South Eastern Homeless Animals (SEHA), a local foster-based rescue group. Langford contacted the people who had temporarily taken in the dog.
“I just reached out to them and said, ‘I’ll take the dog,’” Langford told The Dodo. “I have a microchip scanner, I’ll get him scanned and validate the story first. And then we’ll get him wherever it is that he belongs.”
Langford picked up Scooter later that day at a gas station. “As soon as I saw him, I knew this was a loved pet. He was clean, he was flea-free. He was abandoned with an expensive carrying case for him, an expensive collar, a bag of grain-free dog food,” she said.
“He was a bit nervous, but very sweet and very loving. He wanted to cuddle. It was kind of precious, because on the way home, he kind of laid his head on my chest and just did this big sigh, and kind of melted into me and went back to sleep.”
“It was obvious that this was a snuggly, well-loved, well-cared-for dog,” she added. “He wasn’t just a throwaway.”
After taking Scooter home and having his microchip scanned, she found that the dog was originally from Colorado.
“We tried to contact the number on the microchip, but the number was disconnected,” she said. “The microchip company informed me that he’d been found in 2015 in Colorado, and then again in 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and that he’d been returned to the owner, but that’s all he knew. And then, all of a sudden, he’s in South Carolina!”
Langford later managed to contact the police officer who arrested Scooter’s owner. She learned that his owner was arrested in the Walmart parking lot and had “handed his belongings, his money, his backpack, his carrying bag and his beloved dog to his friends and asked them to ensure that the dog was safe.”
However, his “friends” abandoned the dog…
Langford got in touch with the mother of Scooter’s owner and drove 24 hours to meet her and hand the dog over.
“It was a very touching and emotional reunion, and it was quite obvious that Scooter was very happy to see his family again. I am 100 percent confident in my decision to reunite this beloved pup with his family,” Langford said.
“When an animal is found on the streets, the ultimate hope is that the animal has a loving family looking for them. However in more cases than not, that is not the outcome. In Scooter’s situation, he was a loved and treasured member of a wonderful family. And while it was emotional for me to say goodbye, I have no doubt that he is exactly where he belongs.”