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Missing Dog Finds His Way Home... After 6 Years
by Sherry Morse

The Flores family of Wichita, Kansas received an early Christmas present this year when their beloved dog Bear, who had disappeared in November of 1997, made it back home in time for Thanksgiving in 2003.

Jeanie Flores looked out the window of her house two days before Thanksgiving to see a dog that looked exactly like Bear standing outside.

She recalls thinking, "Oh my God. I think that's my dog!"

She called the dog; and he responded.

Jeanie burst into tears, then called her husband Frank and told him she thought Bear was really home.

Frank Flores rushed home and, after seeing the dog, agreed with his wife that the brindle lab-chow mix was indeed their Bear.

One of the family's neighbors told them she had spotted Bear a little earlier, walking around and carefully scrutinizing the houses.

A veterinarian who examined Bear said that although his paws were red and sore in spots, probably from pounding the pavement, he only weighed one pound less than when he disappeared. It appeared that someone had been taking care of him.

Bear had disappeared in 1997 about one month after the Flores family had moved to a new neighborhood. Jeanie let him out for exercise one night, and he never came back.

"I waited up all night for him, and he never came home," she said.

At the time, Bear's ID tag had not yet been updated with his new address.

The desperate family put up signs, canvassed their old neighborhood, ran ads in the paper, and visited shelters, but, tragically, the dog that Mr. Flores had brought home as a puppy in 1990 seemed to have disappeared without a trace.

Since his extraordinary return home six years later, Bear has been catching up on his sleep and getting reacquainted with his family, which includes a son who was not yet born when the dog disappeared.

The Flores family said they just wish that Bear could tell them where he's been all this time.

"Where was he? We don't know how rough a life he's had," Frank Flores said.

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.