Kaiser, who was lost in June 2018 in Massachusetts, is reunited with his owner on Feb. 15 at Responsible Pet Care in Paris. (Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc)

PARIS — On June 23 last year, Kaiser, a 5-year-old German shepherd/Alaskan  malamute mix, slipped his collar at a kennel in Massachusetts and wandered north.

Morgan Miles, Kelly Ouellette and Tom Wollacott pose with Kaiser. (Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc)

Last month, a homeowner in East Bethel spotted the dog. Her freezer had just died, and she kept meat on her front porch and noticed Kaiser stealing from the stash. She called animal control, and it took three and a half weeks until Sue Milligan of Bethel Animal Control finally was able to trap him.

From Bethel, Kaiser was taken to Responsible Pet Care, an animal shelter in Paris, where caretakers were able to identify his owner, Tom Wollacott of Ashby, Massachusetts.

Last Friday, Kaiser was reunited with his owner, some 200 miles from where they last saw each other.

Wollacott said he was surprised to get the call that his dog had been found, but “I figured he was somewhere.”

Kelly Ouellette, a technician at Responsible Pet Care, took care of Kaiser.

“For the first two days, he wouldn’t move. He shook in the back of his room,” Ouellette said.

She quickly grew attached to the animal. 

Ouellette, who recently lost a dog, planned to adopt him if no one claimed him.

She joked that she would have to road trip down to Ashby to baby-sit.

“We have shared custody now,” said Ouellette.

During his stay at the shelter, the runaway became known as Grizz and many people wanted to adopt him. So, Wollacott had to prove ownership.

The man knew very specific information about some dental oddities in Kaiser, and when shelter volunteer Morgan Miles approached the dog and called his name, Kaiser “lifted his head right up and stared me dead in the face,” she said.

“He’s done fantastic for being out as long as he has, he’s been very quick,” Miles said. “You see dogs that have been out less time than him that take significantly longer to come around.

Miles is a board member of Responsible Pet Care and volunteers with Maine Lost Dog Recovery.

In 2018, Maine Lost Dog Recovery brought 1,073 lost dogs home safe. Kaiser’s case stands out, mainly due to the distance, and the dog’s ability to quickly adapt after being on his own for so long.

When Wollacott arrived at the shelter Friday, Kaiser sniffed his long-lost owner for a few seconds, then jumped on Wollacott and zoomed around the room, wild with joy.

A 5-year-old is looking forward to seeing him,” Wollacott said.

First on the to-do list when Kaiser gets home? A nice bath and a big steak.

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