Dog reunited with owners two years after disappearance

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A couple who thought their dog was lost forever has been reunited in Tippecanoe County long after they had given up hope.

Kevin and Rachel Rotz lost their dog, "Athena," two years ago and never thought they'd see her again. Just last week, though, a phone call changed all of that.

"It was the 14th that we lost her, two years ago," said Kevin Rotz referring to his dog Athena.

Rotz says Athena just took off from the backyard one morning.

"She decided, 'Hey, I'm gonna go out that gate' and never saw her again," explained Rotz.

Rotz and his wife Rachel searched for months. They called local shelters and hung posters with Athena's picture on them, but the dog was nowhere to be found.

The couple feared the worst, but hoped for the best.

"I wanted to think that a trucker just saw her along the side of the road and said 'Hey. Come here' and she hopped up in the truck and just went cruising around the U.S.," Rotz said.

That was the best scenario Rotz thought he could hope for, until the phone call.

"My jaw literally dropped. I was just, like, I couldn't believe it at all," said Rotz.

On the other end was a caller from Crystal Creek Kennel, a shelter 30 minutes north of Lafayette.

A Tippecanoe County Animal Control Officer had picked up a stray running around in Battle Ground and brought it to the local shelter. As it turned out, it was Athena.

"When they found out we had their dog, they could not believe it," said Bernie Wulle with Crystal Creek Kennel. "Anytime an animal comes through the door, cat or dog, we scan it to see if there's a microchip."

The microchips are about the size of a piece of rice and contain a serial number that identifies the pet and gives you a number to call if you find the animal lost and wandering.

Operators at the number you call have the pet owner's contact information and can get in touch with the owner, letting them know their pet has been found.

That's just what happened with Athena.

"There's no way we could have ever found the owner and the microchipping is the only reason they got their animal back," said Wulle.

Now Athena is back home, two years after she disappeared.

"I think she remembers us and she's a good dog," said Kevin Rotz.

Athena now shares her home with another dog named Paulie.

"Her coming back, it just kind of filled everything in and made everything feel just whole again," said Rachel Rotz.

"She's back. She's home with us," said Kevin.