Ten years ago, Abby, a year-old black lab, was playing with her human family outside of their Apollo, Pennsylvania home, when something caught her attention and she just wandered off. Her owner,Debra Suierveld, spent weeks searching for the pup, but she eventually gave up, assuming the dog had been killed. Life went on for Debra and her family, but last week they got an unexpected blast from the past.
On January 30th, 2018, the Suiervelds received a phone call from Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley who claimed to have their dog. Debra told them that they must have made a mistake, because of the family dogs were within view, but then they mentioned the name of the dog, ‘Abby’, to which the woman didn’t know what to answer.
“I didn’t even know what to say,” Suierveld told Trib Live. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ She kind of came back from the dead”
That Tuesday night Suierveld picked Abby up from Animal Protectors in New Kensington and brought her back to the same house that she had disappeared from a decade ago.
Abby had resurfaced on January 27th, on the porch of Judy Spiering, on Wildlife Lodge Road in Lower Burrell, about 8 miles away from the Suierveld residence. The woman had contacted police, who in turn contacted Animal Protectors. Medical manager of the shelter Jody Berisko said that the dog was in excellent condition, and had definitely not been on her own all those years.
“She was in very good shape,” Berisko said. “She’s happy. She’s a good weight. She’s very well taken care of. It’s very weird.”
However, where exactly Abby has been all these years is still a mystery. She is an old dog now, with a graying snout and fatty tumors typical for her age. While it is likely that she had a home, as of yet, there have been no missing reports for a black lab.
A microchip in the scruff of Abby’s neck was the key to the happy reunion. Berisko said that the shelter routinely checks for microchips, and it was scanning the chip that brought up its maker, HomeAgain, who provided the contact information they had on record of Suierveld, as well as the veterinarian who had put in the chip. Suierveld had changed her number, but the veterinarian had her current information.
“They actually had the pet listed as deceased,” Berisko said. “They thought I was crazy.”
Suierveld said she had been angry about the microchip for years after Abby went missing. “For years I was like, ‘Why did I chip her?’ ” she said but added that her opinion is different now that Abby has come home.
Suierveld said that she had adopted Abby from the Greensburg Humane Society as a gift for her daughter Carly all those years ago. She called Carly, now 22 and a student at Miami University in Ohio, about Abby, and she cried.
“My kids all want to know if she answers to her name,” Suierveld said. She apparently does.