How a Database Helped Reunite a Woman With Her Missing Service Dog Before Hurricane Ian Wreaked Havoc
Losing a beloved pet is every owner's worse nightmare, but losing a dog just before a disastrous storm hits takes the scenario to a whole different level.
Unfortunately for Ceecee, a central Florida resident, this was her reality just days before Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on her state. Diamond, Ceecee's 7-month-old American pit bull terrier, slipped out the door behind Ceecee on a routine shopping run. The store was just a block away from Ceecee's home, and she didn't realize her sweet pup had followed her out.
Once she realized Diamond was missing, Ceecee knew it was a race against the clock. Hurricane Ian—the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since Michael in 2018—was due in just a few days, and the likelihood of finding Diamond after the storm made landfall would plummet.
"Diamond is like a child to me. She's just my baby," Ceecee says. "All I could think about was my baby being lost and not being able to find me when the storm was coming."
Ceecee quickly sprang into action to try to bring her lost dog home. She called animal control, who recommended Ceecee try using Petco Love Lost, a database that helps reunite lost pets with their owners. With high hopes, Ceecee uploaded Diamond's photo and listed her as lost.
Little did she know, someone had found Diamond shortly after she slipped out of their home. Diamond had followed her owner all the way to the store down the block, where an employee found her in the parking lot and brought her home. He'd uploaded Diamond's picture to the database as well. Petco Love Lost's pet image technology made the match, and the finder was able to contact Ceecee shortly after, leading to the pair's reunion just two days after they separated.
"I [had been] trying to prepare myself that she would never return home. Of course, it was a big relief when she did," says Ceecee. "She was so happy to be home, she jumped right into my arms."
Ceecee and Diamond's special relationship makes the reunion that much sweeter. Ceecee has epilepsy and a brain disorder, and Diamond is her service dog in training. Diamond has already saved her life in the six months they've been together, Ceecee says.
"I wouldn't be able to live an independent life like I do now without her," she says. "She is my everything, my lifeline."
Ceecee and Diamond rode out hurricane Ian together. Though they lost power for five days, they had a generator that helped them get through. We couldn't be happier for Ceecee and Diamond's sweet reunion after they endured every dog owner's worst nightmare!