Tom Woollacott, Kaiser’s owner, Morgan Miles, board member at Responsible Pet Care in South Paris, and Kelly Oullette, a technician at the shelter, pose with Kaiser, a dog who ended up a long way from home.

Kaiser, a dog lost in June of 2018 in Massachusetts, reunited with his owner on February 15 at Responsible Pet Care in Paris. Photo by Jon Bolduc, Sun Journal

SOUTH PARIS — On June 23, 2018, Kaiser, a 5-year-old German Shephard malamute mix, slipped his collar at a kennel in Massachusetts.

On February 15, Kaiser, thinner and a little bit more matted, made his journey home.

In January, a homeowner in East Bethel spotted Kaiser. Her freezer had just died, and she kept meat on her front porch; she 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 on February 8. From Bethel, Kaiser was taken to Responsible Pet Care, an animal shelter in Paris.

Since his capture, he has been under the doting care of the shelter’s staff.

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 re-adapt after being on his own for so long.

“He’s done fantastic for being out as long as he has, he’s been very quick. You see dogs that have been out less time than him that take significantly longer to come around,” said Morgan Miles, board member of Responsible Pet Care and Maine Lost Dog Recovery volunteer.

But he wasn’t always so comfortable. Kelly Oullette, a technician at Responsible Pet Care,  took care of Kaiser since he was brought to the shelter.

Oullette quickly became attached. But Kaiser had to come around. 

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

Kaiser’s transformation has been remarkable, according to Miles and Oullette.

“He’s kind of a favorite right now, because he’s such a good boy,” said Ouellette. Ouellette, who recently lost a dog and took to Kaiser right away, planned on adopting Kaiser if no one came for him.

But, sure enough, Kasier’s owner came calling. The kennel that Kaiser escaped from called Tom Wollacott, of Ashby, Mass., informing him Kaiser had been found.

“I was surprised. I figured he was somewhere,” said Wollacott. 

There was a problem, though. Everyone wanted to adopt Kaiser, known then as Grizz, including Ouellette. Wollacott had to prove he was Kaiser’s owner.

His ownership proved apparent when, in addition to knowing the very specific dental oddities of Kaiser’s mouth, Wollacott provided the staff with Kaiser’s true name.

When Miles went out to greet Kaiser, the dog formerly known as Grizz, his head was down, and he was despondent.

“When I said ‘Kasier’, he lifted his head right up, and stared me dead in the face,” said Miles. 

“Since we started calling him Kaiser yesterday, his personality has come out immensely,” said Ouellette. 

Ouellette found it bittersweet; she had grown attached to Kaiser, but had to say goodbye.  Oullette joked that she would have to road trip down to Ashby to babysit.

“We have shared custody now,” said Oulette.

So it was set. Grizz was Kaiser, and Kaiser was going home. On February 15, Wollacott made the drive from Massachusetts, coming to claim his long lost friend.

Kaiser sniffed his long lost owner for a few seconds, then, as if finally allowing himself to be excited, jumped on Wollacott, and zoomed around the room, wild with joy.

A five-year-old is looking forward to seeing him,” said  Woollacott. First on the to-do list when Kaiser gets home? A nice bath, and a big steak.

It’s a happy ending, but it begs the question; just how did Kaiser travel nearly 200 hundred miles?

“What has been his journey? Did somebody pick him up and bring him here? Has he been with a family this whole time? Did he escape again? Or did he literally just trek his own way? Either is 100 percent possible. Those are things none of us will never know, and that only he knows,” said Miles.

A real-life incredible journey.

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