Northeast Missouri Humane Society reunites missing dog with St. Louis owner after a year

Cherry Humphrey

Cherry Humphrey, left, and her little sister pose with Gohen at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society. The dog and his family from the St. Louis area were reunited Wednesday after the shelter found them through Gohen's microchip. courtesy of the Northeast Missouri Humane Society

HANNIBAL, Mo. — A year-long journey for Gohen, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, had a happy ending last week at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society in Hannibal. 

Shelter director Elise Blue said the dog was discovered neglected in the basement of a Hannibal home. Two caged puppies on the main level were covered in urine and feces. A local family nursed Gohen, who was too weak to even climb their stairs, back to health. When Gohen arrived at the shelter, he was immediately scanned for a chip. 

Little did they know a family in Berkeley — A St. Louis suburb nearly two hours south of Hannibal — was losing hope that they would ever see Gohen again. Cherry Humphrey remembers the night almost a year ago when he escaped from his fenced yard.

“We walked around the neighborhood for hours looking for him and calling out his name. We called nearby towns and even looked at a camera which for some reason stopped working, so you can’t see what direction he went in,” Humphrey said. “So we sort of lost hope for a long time.”

Humphrey was shocked on Tuesday when she opened an email telling her Gohen was found in Hannibal. 

“I was super excited. My little sister didn’t want to go to school so she could come,” Humphrey said with a laugh.

Humphrey is unsure if Gohen, a puppy when he went missing, immediately recognized them when they arrived at the shelter to pick him up. However, she said the reunion has been a good one. He immediately fit in with the dogs now at their home.

“It’s hard to say if he knew us because he seemed stressed, but he came home and was immediately excited,” she said. “It’s basically like he never left.”

Humphrey and Blue credit Gohen’s chip for leading him back home. Blue said the shelter has helped many dogs find their owners through scanning their chips, but none were ever this far from home.

“We scan all of the animals who come into the shelter, and if there is a chip then we call that chip company and they locate the owner,” Blue said. 

All animals adopted from the shelter are microchipped. The shelter offers microchipping to the public for $30. Blue said it’s a quick and easy process that could pay off in a big way.

“If the chip company pet link that we use can’t get a hold of the owners or when they get contacted, they can’t get a hold of the owners. They will immediately call us, and then we will contact the owners,” Blue said. “Strays find their homes a lot faster with microchips.”

To find out more about microchipping, visit the Northeast Missouri Humane Shelter website.

To show your love to the shelter on Valentine’s Day, Blue said to eat at Papa John’s on Feb. 14 for the “Take Out for Tail Waggers” fundraiser and mention you support Northeast Missouri Humane Shelter. The fundraiser will donate 15 percent of the price for online orders, phone call orders or walk-ins to the shelter. To learn more, visit the fundraiser page.

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