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Do dogs remember owners after 5 years apart?

February 23rd, 2009, 04:05 PM
Hello everyone,

My dog ran away five and a half years ago and just last week my sister was at her job when she started discussing dogs with her client. He showed her a picture of his dog and it turned out to be my dog! Of course my sister couldn't believe it since when she ran away she was 12 and had arthritis. After talking to the man for a while she finally realized that it was her. Now we're all going to see her soon but I'm really scared. What if she doesn't remember me, what if she ran away because she was unhappy and didn't want to be with us anymore?
I really missed her all these years and thought she was dead. I was at peace with it, but now she is back in my life and I realize that I missed all this time with her. I felt anger when I heard from my sister at first. Anger that the new owners didn't put signs up or anything. I knew it's not their responsibility but I couldn't help it. Then I cried when I remembered the events of that day. I remembered the day, time and year she left. I remembered putting up signs in every corner and using a map to find them all. I remembered driving in the car that day and it began to rain and how I was worried she was cold and scared. I remembered the signs and how they looked like and riding my bike for 6 months yelling her name. I felt like I didn't try hard enough and felt guilty. Now I'm scared she's moved on.
They told us they were going to come by on Friday but never showed up or called. My sister found their number through her paperwork and called them today and they said how they were scared we were going to take her. They even got mad when we called her by the name she had for 10 years of her life. They love her a lot, and care for her yet I feel anger when I think about how they lied and the anticipation we all felt on Friday. We're not going to ask for her back of course, but I hope they can understand that it's my dog as much as it's theirs. I have one of her daughters who was crying when she left and still misses her.
Does anyone know what to do in a situation like this, do I have a right to see my dog often now? Should I just accept that I had her for 10 years and now it's their time? I don't know what to feel now.

February 23rd, 2009, 04:45 PM
wow... I don't know what to say, tragic.. I think it is normal to feel anger, rightly so! Really if they found her and did not adopt her from somewhere then they had NO RIGHT to keep her, but that said, it has been a long time and they are attached to her too, I cannot believe that they would be angry you called her by name..

I think the only thing you can do is hope that they are good understanding people and let you visit her, I know I would let someone do that and call her by her old name, but I don't know these people, they should really look into their hearts and think what it would be like to be you and the situations reversed, you had her and loved her for 10 years! Have they told you what the circumstances where? How they got her?

I am so sorry for you, your heart must feel torn, I don't know if there is anything you can do, i am happy that she is ok though, warm and loved, I hope you get a visit, to ease your mind and maybe help move one. I wish everyone who found an animal would do the right thing, if they want an animal of their own there are many that need homes. I wish you all the luck in the world that this works out for you, take care!

February 23rd, 2009, 04:58 PM
Nikki....I am in the same boat as you and wondering all the questions you are asking if someday Sable is found...will they remember us, would I want to take him away from someone he has come to love and trust....
I am so happy that you finally know what happened to him ..much better than all the "what ifs" our mind plays out.
I hope you get to finally be reunited if only for a visit...and please please let us know how it is a miracle many of us pray for each day.
Good Luck

February 23rd, 2009, 05:32 PM
Wow... that's the stuff that movies are made of.

If I 've done my math right, your dog has been gone for 5 1/2 years and she was twelve when she left and had arthritis.This makes her seventeen and a 1/2 ~ which in dog terms is very, very old and probably very, very frail.

If I were that old girl, I would love a pat on the head and special treat. But, please don't move me from the warm comfort of the bed that I know.

You are fortunate in knowing that your dog has been truly loved and well cared for all these years and will die, happy, that way. A hard truth, I know. But, at least you do know, where so many don't.

February 23rd, 2009, 06:18 PM
yeah she is really old now =/. I keep forgetting that and just remember her jumping around and playing. I am very lucky to have found her again. I just feel really sad knowing she was so close to me all this time.

I do hope Sable is happy wherever he is and I'm sorry :(.

February 23rd, 2009, 06:30 PM
Oh Hun ~ don't feel sad.. feel glad.

You are so lucky to know how her life ends.

You were blessed with this wonderful dog. Her new family has since been blessed as well with all these years.

You know where she is. You know she is happy and you know she will die a happy dog.

What more can we ask for? Maybe it's the perspective of age and you'll just have to trust me on this one, but, you are truly blessed in knowing.

February 23rd, 2009, 07:02 PM
well there is the problem. I had to grief for her 5 years ago, I assumed she had died. Running away was so much easier than actually knowing the truth. Now I know she is alive and she will die soon, and not with me. She will die with someone else and it will all happen again. That is the problem. When one of her daughters died two years ago it was so much harder. I knew what had happened and I had to experience that. I assumed she did have a good home but I didn't suffer with her like I did with the other dog.

February 23rd, 2009, 07:19 PM
Nitiki...I would give anything to know what has happened to my Sable...and even to spend just one more minute with him to tell him how much I have missed him and how much we love him. Cherish anything you can with her and know that you will not have to wonder "what happened" as many of us here have to do everyday.

February 23rd, 2009, 09:20 PM
Id Like to add MY story.. errr Rather Duke's

This is a lil long.. but bear with me..

Duke went missing Aug 25th 2008... We searched everywhere put up flyers etc.. Then in mean time we aquired Diamond .. Not as a replacement but as a addition to Duke should we find him..

Sept 5th Hubby took the quad into the bush.. Discovering a dicomposed body of a dog with a choker/tags We forsure thought was Duke.. (DH came home to tell me) & I in turn felt i had to start my grieving & we had the tell the kids..

I even did a RIP on here :sad:

Nov... Duke was "dropped" off at a vet with massive injuries possible hit by car etc etc.. We were contacted & even went to see him.. broke my heart & felt he was a prodigal dog... Overjoyed but knew he wasnt out of the woods yet.. we were hoping for a early Xmas present but Major injury to his leg had him transfered to SIL vet.. where in her capable hands he unfortunatly didnt wake from surgury..He passed way just before my Bday ... Dec 8th.. (Bday dec 9th)

Having had that chance to visit was great... But losing him for good the 2nd time was & IS 1000x worse... BUT I knew he was going to the bridge..

(I write this with tears rolling down my face)

I know he was happy to see me & yet my hands were tied I couldnt make him all better.. BUT I recieved his ashes Christmas eve.. That are here & will always be apart of me or us..

If those people are worried.. know or take comfort that he wasnt alone or lost by himself.. suffering pain but in a familys home.. & that he is ok..

Look at him as the Prodigal Dog.. giving a family a wonderful pet for the years he had left..