It’s always heartbreaking when a beloved pet goes missing, but it’s important to not lose hope: sometimes pets return to us when we least expect them, months or even years after they disappeared.
That was the case recently, after a cat missing for 11 long years was found and finally reunited with his long lost family.
In a case they called “a reunion story for the record books,” Animal Care & Protective Services shared the story of a cat named Derek.
A Good Samaritan found Derek on the street, sick and alone. They brought him to ACPS where Animal Code Enforcement Officer Alfredson noticed the cat had a microchip.
Microchips are often a lifesaver when it comes to reuniting lost pets with their owners, but unfortunately Derek’s identification was incorrect. But Alfredson “put on her detective hat” to locate Derek’s family.
“The team at ACPS is trained to use every resource available when researching microchips,” a Facebook post explains.
She reached out to the Jacksonville Humane Society, who originally implanted Derek’s microchip. They told her the information they had dated all the way back to 2010, and that the phone number they had was no longer in service. But through some more digging, Alfredson found a new phone number attached to their address.
Alfredson called the number, unsure if she would get a response — but soon, the owners heard her message and were stunned.
It turns out Derek went missing 11 years ago, and the family couldn’t believe he was still alive. The owner, Angela, headed to ACPS to reclaim him immediately.
“She told us that Derek had been a childhood pet for her children and the kids were [devastated] when he went missing,” the ACPS’ post reads, shared alongside a photo of old Derek finally back in his owner’s arms.
“Derek now gets to live out his life back in the place where he was raised and with a family who still loves him to this day.”
ACPS said it was a reminder to get your pets microchipped and keep your information up to date, which makes miracles like this possible. They also thanked Alfredson for going the extra mile to finally get Derek home.
We’re so glad Derek is finally back with his loving owners after 11 years! Thank you to everyone who made this miracle possible!
Please share this inspiring story! ❤️😻