Dog walks nearly 500 miles to reunite with Myrtle Beach owner

akelley@thesunnews.comAugust 31, 2012 

— Mark Wessells didn’t think he’d ever see his dog again.

Wessells had taken his black lab to visit his father in Winchester, Va. He left the dog on his father’s mountain property to return to Myrtle Beach where he was in the process of moving and temporarily couldn’t have the dog.

“I wanted him to be up in Virginia where my dad has all this other property and he would’ve been happy,” he said.

About a week after leaving Virginia, Wessells’ father called saying Buck was gone.

“He just disappeared,” Wessells said. “We thought somebody stole him because that was the only thing we could think of. For the longest time, my dad and brother had been keeping an eye out for him, but never saw him.”

Fast forward about six months. Brett Gallagher found the lab in Bellegrove, a Carolina Forest subdivision, about two weeks ago. He asked around the neighborhood, but nobody had reported a missing dog. Gallagher started calling the lab Deuce because he found him around 2 a.m.

For two weeks, the dog played happily with Gallagher’s own yellow lab mix Hannah.

When his schedule finally allowed, Gallagher took the dog for a checkup at Grand Strand Animal Hospital where the veterinarian found a microchip identifying the dog and his real owners. Microchipping is a process that puts an identification into a pet, usually between the shoulder blades, through an injection.

“The nurse came back and said, ‘Are you Buck?’ and he got so excited,” Gallagher said. “It must have been the first time he heard his name since he left.”

As soon as Wessells entered the exam room the 2-year-old lab that traveled about 500 miles to get home showered his owner in kisses.

“I still don’t know how I feel,” Wessells said. “I’m just glad he’s back.”

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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