The Daily Telegraph
July 30, 2009 11:23AM
A FLEA-bitten dog rescued from a squalid Melbourne back yard is to be reunited with her overjoyed Brisbane owner - nine years after she disappeared.
And 17-year-old Chloe Rushby, who was only eight when her best mate disappeared, can't wait to have Muffy back in her arms.
Chloe and her family screamed with joy when the RSPCA called to say Muffy was alive - much older, very scruffy and 2000km away in Melbourne.
Gallery: Amazing animal escapes
"It would be fair to say that they were extremely elated and extremely excited by the call," said RSPCA inspector Gail Coulter, who found an emaciated Muffy after an anonymous tip.
"They were initially shocked and confused, but when we mentioned the name Muffy - which is part of the microchip information - and gave them a description of her, they knew it was their pet lost so many years ago."
Amazing animal escapes
What happened in between is largely a mystery.
The fluffy white bitser is known to have been kept in a filthy back yard for the past two years.
The previous seven years of her life are a mystery.
Ms Coulter found Muffy sleeping on a tattered piece of cardboard after a tip-off about animal cruelty.
The skinny mutt with matted fur was suffering severe dermatitis caused by flea allergy.
The last thing Ms Coulter expected was to find was the bag of skin and bones had been microchipped.
She was even more astounded when her original owners were found in Brisbane and were overjoyed to have their old dog back.
"It's an amazing, extraordinary story on several counts," Ms Coulter said. "The fact that someone went to the trouble of calling in her case as one of neglect probably saved her life.
"Then the fact that she was microchipped made us realise she had probably come from a very different home and background to the one we found her in.
"And then, most remarkably, that we were able to track down her original owners, nine years later and even though their contact details recorded on the microchip information were hopelessly out of date."
Muffy will be flown home to Brisbane VIP-style next week to be reunited with the girl who never forgot her.
Mum Natalie Lampard said Chloe, who shared her bed with Muffy for three years, still talked about the missing pooch right up until the RSPCA called. Now Chloe can tell Muffy herself how much she missed her. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/dog-found-2000km-away-nine-years-later/story-e6freuy9-1225756234437