No one knows exactly how Blue, a pit bull mix pup, got from Florida to Michigan.
The pooch ended up at the Humane Society of Midland County in central Michigan in March. She was picked up as a stray and staffers were psyched to find she had a microchip.
They called the phone number registered to the chip. A woman in Florida answered. She told them her dog had been missing for a week. She had no idea how Blue had traveled across the country, but she wanted her back.
Employees were so excited to hear the news and reunite Blue with her owner. They posted on social media asking if anyone could drive the 1-year-old pup to the Sunshine State. The local media even picked up their plea for a driver.
“We got a ton of replies of people offering to help,” Logan Smith, an animal care technician with the Humane Society of Midland County, told The Dodo. “The community totally stepped up. It was amazing.”
Out of the hundreds of people who offered, Michigan resident Stephanie James won the chauffeur gig.
“The dog needed to go home,” James told The Dodo. “I have a love for Florida, I love driving, and I thought, ‘You know, why not?’”
James took vacation time from work, picked up her brother, filled her tank with gas and drove to the shelter to get Blue. “The moment I saw her I said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re too adorable.’ She is a beautiful dog,” she said.
And off the trio went. “I didn’t even know Blue before I picked her up at the shelter,” James said. “During the trip, Blue would rest her head on my shoulder.”
About 1,300 miles later, after a few pit stops at gas stations and fast food joints, a dip in the ocean, and a hotel stay, they rolled into South Florida.
When they arrived at the owner’s house, James said the owner’s mother invited them in. Blue immediately recognized where she was. “She ran up and went through the house and everything seemed fine. She rolled over on her back,” James said.
More than an hour later, Blue’s owner came home. “Blue kept jumping around and was very excited when she saw her,” James said.
James said they discussed how Blue could have possibly gotten to Michigan.
Blue’s family told her the dog stayed in a backyard kennel when they weren’t home and someone kept taking her. They believe someone took her again, or somehow she got out.
“She’s a very wiggly, very smart dog. They think she made her way near the freeway and someone picked her up,” James said.
After chatting for a bit, James said she got some shocking news: The owner told her she thought it was best Blue went back to Michigan.
“She said to me, ‘With me going to school full-time and working full-time, I can’t commit to the dog. You seem like good people. Blue really likes you. You’ve taken good care of her.’” James said.
James was stunned: “I thought, ‘You guys could have told me this a long time ago.’”
So James and her brother loaded Blue back into the car and started driving away.
“Blue was looking back at the house like, ‘Wait a minute,’” James said. “We said, ‘It’s gonna be OK, Blue, we love you.’ It broke my heart, for her to look back and look out the window. I’m like, ‘I can’t be upset, this is the best thing for Blue. I can’t be upset.’”
James called the Humane Society with the news that they were all heading back to Michigan. She told them she would love to adopt Blue, but her own home was pretty full with her other rescue dogs.
While James, her brother and Blue were back on the road, making more pit stops and hotel stays, the Humane Society put up a Facebook post telling everyone who rooted for Blue what had happened — and that she was now en route to Michigan and up for adoption.
As James drove, she had no idea how many inquiries from people who wanted to adopt Blue were flooding into the shelter.
Two hours after James returned to the Humane Society, a man who was approved to adopt Blue raced over to meet her.
“I was looking for another dog. I had to put my pit bull down six months ago,” Robert Allison told The Dodo. “My cousin called me and asked me if I heard of this dog. I said, ‘No.’”
So Allison read about Blue, contacted the shelter and filled out an application, and they asked him to come over.
“I called my boss to ask if I could go on my lunch break. I said, ‘Have you heard this dog’s story?’ My boss said she did,” he said. “And she let me take the time.”
And once he met Blue, it was clear they were a match. “I walked up and she jumped on me,” Allison said. “She definitely took right to me.”
He adopted Blue and brought her home the same day she returned to the shelter.
Allison said Blue really loves his son and is fitting in very well. “Her daily ritual is getting up on the couch and licking me to death,” he said.
And just this week, James got to reunite with Blue.