Ga. husky at Harvard rescue to be reunited with owner

HARVARD – Five years after a Siberian husky went missing in Georgia, she has been found at a rescue in Harvard and will be reunited with her owner this morning.

"It's just unbelievable how some things happen," said Karen Ferreri-Miller, founder of Free Spirit Siberian Rescue.

The 6-year-old dog, who was being called Chatty Kathy, had been scheduled to be euthanized at the Murray County (Ga.) Animal Control when Ferreri-Miller stepped in.

Ferreri-Miller typically saves dogs from the South. While working in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she found that many dogs were not spayed or neutered and often had heartworm. The climate also is unsuitable for a husky's thick, dense fur, she said.

Ferreri-Miller paid for boarding and an expensive transport up to Illinois, and the dog arrived at Free Spirit on Aug. 11.

On Sunday, a family came in and decided to adopt her. As the dog was being bathed, she was checked for a microchip.

"My husband checked with the reader," Ferreri-Miller said. "Lo and behold, she had one."

Ferreri-Miller then called the microchip company, which had two phone numbers for the owner and left a message with Ferreri-Miller's contact information.

Within half an hour, Ferreri-Miller got a return phone call from Heather Jackson of Chatsworth, Ga., saying that it was her dog, Shakira.

"She said that the dog had been missing and a neighbor had told her that some other neighbor thought the dog was a wolf and shot it," Ferreri-Miller said. "For five years, this woman was thinking that her dog was dead."

Why Animal Control in Georgia hadn't checked for a microchip, Ferreri-Miller can't answer.

"By the time I get the dog, that's supposed to have happened," she said.

She's hoping that the story has a happy ending.

Ferreri-Miller said she was told the dog had lived in Jackson's backyard and that Jackson now has an Akita that is dominant.

"If the family's willing to drive up here and they're willing to pay our adoption fee, I'm hoping that they take better care of her," Ferreri-Miller said.

Jackson was headed to McHenry County Animal Control to be reunited with her dog this morning.

Good placement in homes is extremely important, Ferreri-Miller said, and there was a family lined up to take Kathy/Shakira home.

"We've had 134 dogs adopted this year and only three or four returns in the whole year," Ferreri-Miller said. "Matching up animals with people is an important thing and we want the dog to be there for the rest of their life. That's my only sadness."

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