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Old 10-14-2010, 11:02 PM
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Default Search For New Pet Leads To Long-Lost Dog

Gardner Woman Reunited With Faith, Dog She Thought She's Never See Again
DeAnn Smith, KMBC.com

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Dana Klint was casually perusing the online pages at Pet Connection on Saturday looking for a buddy for her playful Siberian husky.

Then she stopped. It seemed impossible. The face of her beloved dog, Faith, that she hadn't seen in more than two years because of a dispute with an ex-boyfriend was staring back at her.

Images: Old Dog Faith Returns To Old Home

"I glanced at the picture of Faith and thought, 'Wow, that looks like my dog!' I looked at it closer and my heart just stopped. I knew that was my dog," Klint said. "I had left it where I would never see her again. I just had to let it go, but it hurt so bad."

Klint's journey with the 15-year-old Faith started in 2000 when she lived in West Palm Beach, Fla. Faith followed Klint's son home from school. Faith had a tag and she called the vet's office who gave her the contact information for the owner of the Siberian husky mix.

"She was the most wonderful dog. She had manners. She was so good," Klint recalled Tuesday.

Faith's owner came and picked her up. But the dog kept following Klint's son, who is now 20 years old. After the fourth time of following her son home, Faith's owner wouldn't come get her, and Klint had a new dog.

Klint got a second dog, Maggie, an old English bulldog in 2003. She and her then-boyfriend moved to the Kansas City area. In 2006, they broke up. Klint thought it was an amicable breakup.

"I didn't have a place to keep Faith and Maggie so I asked him to keep them temporarily," she said. "Six months later, I wanted them back. He wouldn't give them back."

Pet Connection

The dispute turned nasty enough that the police got involved. But Klint had nothing in writing to show the arrangement was temporary so she had no recourse.

She said she got to see Faith and Maggie every six months, but then two years ago her boyfriend ordered her away and never to return.

"I had no reason to believe they were in danger. He loved the dogs too. He treated the dogs better than he treated me," Klint said. "I just accepted that I didn't have my dogs anymore."

In the meantime, Klint got married and had two children now ages 2 years old and 1 years old. They settled into a home in Gardner. They got their rambunctious Siberian husky named Freyja, who they decided needed a puppy or cat to play with.

Three weeks ago, a good Samaritan came across Faith, which the Pet Connection named Medora. She was out on the streets of Kansas City, Kan., and emaciated. She was covered in sores and hip dysplasia meant she was dragging herself around by her front legs. She is partially blind and her hearing is bad. She was eating out of gutters to survive and the shelter estimates she has been living on the streets for at least six months.

Two years ago, the dog would have been likely put down because of her age and condition, said the Pet Connection's Melody Kelso. But the Ray of Hope program with the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City means the no-kill shelter can accept special animals like Faith.

And that led to the Pet Connection putting the dog's picture up on their website for adoption. They are encouraging people to consider adopting older dogs, which Klint now wholeheartedly supports.

"I was looking for a buddy for my Siberian husky. I wasn't looking for a 15-year-old dog," Klint said.

Initially, Klint hoped it wasn't Faith's picture staring back at her.

"I didn't want my dog to go through that, knowing she went through a horrible ordeal. It was heart breaking," Klint said. "I just dropped everything and ran down there."

Pet Connection

And she knew immediately Saturday afternoon that Medora was really a dog named Faith. She said the way Faith responded to her, the spot on her tongue and the way her toenails looked were giveaways to her.

"I sat down on the floor and was hugging her. She leaned on me and I started crying. I couldn't believe it," Klint said. "I thought, 'This is a miracle.' She is really like a child to me."

She theorizes that Faith ran away from her ex-boyfriend's because his backyard was unfenced and the dog clearly likes to roam. She said it's heart breaking not knowing what has happened to Maggie.

But Klint wasn't ready to take Faith home Saturday afternoon. She said she needed to get the house ready and buy the proper supplies. Klint said it nearly broke her heart to leave Faith Saturday afternoon and the dog didn't want to return to her place in the shelter.

But Sunday, Klint returned to claim Faith permanently.

"I was so nervous that something would happen and I wouldn't get her back. I am just elated. I am so happy," Klint said.

She said Faith has quickly settled into her new home and that Freyja treats Faith like she's her mother. Faith does use her back legs as a rudder and pushes herself around with her front legs.

While walking Faith outside, Klint has had to stop her from foraging the gutters for food.

"I told her, 'Honey, you aren't a gutter girl anymore,'" Klint said. "I found her as a stray twice in two different states. It's meant to be. She's my girl. I am giving her the best care possible. I am going to make sure she spends the rest of her life as the spoiled princess that she's meant to be."
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