It was a real-life Incredible Journey for one lucky dog, who found himself on the most unlikely road trip to get home.
Jake is a 7-year-old Coonhound who has been away from home for over a year. But his luck turned around when someone discovered him near a YMCA in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania.
Luckily, he was microchipped, which meant that it would be easy to find his owners, though when his Pennsylvania rescuers discovered the dog’s rightful address, they were stunned.
He was from Peoria, Arizona—2,000 miles away!
Somehow Jake had made his way across the country over the past year. It wasn’t clear how—all anyone knew was they had to somehow get him home again.
Renae Metz, from A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue in Pennsylvania, was put in charge of the unusual mission.
“They said to me ‘you’re not going to believe this, but we have a dog here from Arizona and we immediately thought of you. Can you help us get him home,'” she told WTAJ.
She reached out to Jake’s owners in Peoria. While they were happy to hear their dog was found, getting him home would be complicated:
The couple just had a newborn baby, and couldn’t take a trip to Pennsylvania anytime soon.
However, Metz had a backup plan—Jake would just hitchhike his way home.
Strangers across the country volunteered to drive him home!
Wearing a shirt that said “Arizona or Bust,” Jake was ready for his cross-country road trip, thanks to the help of some new friends.
Metz’s sister, a transport coordinator for rescued animals, used Facebook to find volunteers to drive a leg of the 2,000-mile journey.
Plenty of people signed up, and shared photos on Facebook, documenting his adventure.
The volunteers all worked together to get the dog home, across more than a few state lines.
“We have 20 different drivers, three overnights and a lot of stops for Jake,” Metz told ABC 15.
But Jake seemed more than happy to travel with these strangers.
“He wasn’t skittish, he wasn’t scared,” Metz told Inside Edition. “He was happy to come to anybody who was willing to give him attention.”
“He is truly an amazing dog.”
Given all the work it took to get Jake back to Arizona, it’s worth wondering how he ended up all the way in Pennsylvania in the first place.
No one has any real idea, and Metz said she’s “baffled.”
“I don’t know if he stopped in certain states, if he was stolen or if a truck driver brought him here,” Metz told WTAJ. “We just don’t have any idea.”
At long last, Jake finally made it home.
After crossing into Arizona, Jake’s owner picked him up in Holbrook, and they shared a happy reunion.
Posted by A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue on Monday, May 21, 2018
Jake was finally taken home to Peoria where he met with the rest of the family. It was a long-overdue reunion, all made possible by the kindness of strangers.
The shelter was happy to make the reunion happen—but the trip cost more than they could afford, between supplies and boarding costs. They set up a crowdfunding page to help recoup the expenses of their mission, with a goal of $500.
But they said they were happy to put up the cost because “this story is something out of a movie”—and it really is.