A pet is part of the family, so when one goes missing, it’s heartbreaking. That’s exactly what happened to the Rountree’s, Alabama natives who noticed their beloved dog Abby was missing from their backyard.
After searching high and low for Abby, the elderly couple gave up hope that they’d ever see their dog again. That is until an unlikely being stepped foot into the local Walmart a few weeks later.
For A Lot Of People, A Dog Is A Member Of The Family
Having a dog run away is heartbreaking. They’re a member of the family, after all. For some people, they will search high and low for their beloved pooch. And that’s exactly what the Rountree’s did, for a while.
But after scouring their neighborhood night after night looking for their precious dog Abby, the elderly couple had to call off their search eventually. It wasn’t an easy call for them to make.
November 8, 2020, Wasn’t A Good Day
It was November 8, 2020, when June Rountree stepped out into her backyard in Dothan, Alabama. But after looking around, the 60-year-old noticed something wasn’t right. Where was their dog Abby?
Instead of her lovable black and white dog looking excited and ready to go inside, all that was left on the lawn was Abby’s collar and leash. Both of which we secured to a stake in the ground.
Abby Was On The Lose Without Any Identification
Abby was gone and without any identification since the collar had been left behind. How were people going to know to contact the Rountree’s if they came across Abby? How would animal control know?
All of a sudden, the issue at hand became increasingly more severe. They couldn’t bear it if their beloved pet got picked up and placed in a shelter solely because she didn’t have a contact number on her.
June And Her Husband Searched The Neighborhood
So, June and her husband did the only thing they could; they hopped in the car and began searching the neighborhood in hopes that Abby didn’t go too far. Night after night, they’d drive up and down the streets, shouting her name and looking for a sign of black and white movement.
Unfortunately, they continued to strike out, never coming across their pooch during their long and hard searches. Where could Abby be? Was she safe?
A Few Weeks Went By And Still Nothing
A few weeks went by, and the Rountree’s had to come to terms with the fact that they probably weren’t going to see Abby again. A four-year-old dog could get very far in that amount of time. Who knows where she wound up.
Three weeks after Abby ran out on the Rountree’s, on November 28, June set off to work at Walmart. It was a busy day, and June wasn’t really thinking about much except getting shoppers checked out in a timely fashion.
Something Caught June’s Eye
But one day, in a Walmart of all places, everything changed. It started as a typical day for June, starting her shift at cash register number six at the local Walmart.
That’s when she was startled when a lot of commotion began at the front of the store. What on earth had people in such a frenzy? Then she saw something that made her eyes go wide. She couldn’t believe it.
There Was A Dog Running Through The Store
On November 28, June wasn’t expecting anything other than a normal day at work, operating her register and helped shoppers. Well, that all changed when a whole lot of commotion began at the front of the store.
The thing was, June thought her eyes were playing a trick on her. The commotion couldn’t be a dog, could it? But it was! A dog was running up and down the aisles.
The Black And White Fur Was Distinct
During an interview with the Washington Post, June explained her first reaction to seeing the dog. In a big display of honestly, June said, “I said, ‘It can’t be.'” Was the dog running away from the Walmart employees and darting through the aisles Abby?
That’s when June saw it, the tell-tale sign that it was most definitely her long-lost pooch. June saw, in the mix of black fur, the distinct white patch around her neck and snout.
No One Really Knew What Was Happening
During an interview with The Washington Post, one of the customer service representatives at the superstore, Danielle Robinette, commented on the moment. She said, “I was like, ‘What in the world is happening?'”
“I’m a huge animal lover, so I just followed her, and she ran up to register No. 6.” As it turned out, the dog was on a mission. And after she realized what she was looking for wasn’t in the aisles, she bee-lined it to the registers.
It Was Abby!
That’s when June noticed the distinct white patches that surround Abby’s snout and neck. It was actually Abby! She couldn’t believe it! During an interview with The Washington Post, June explained her initial reaction.
She said, “I called her name, and she came to me. I bent over and hugged her. I completely lost it then. I couldn’t speak. I was in complete shock and just couldn’t believe it.” And who wouldn’t lose it?
After Three Weeks, Abby Was Back
After three long weeks of wondering what happened to her beloved dog, June finally could hug her again. She was in shock. What in the world happened during those three weeks, and how did Abby wind up coming to Walmart, of all places?
She’s either one smart pooch or someone who helped her along. Either way, June was over the moon with happiness. Her co-workers could even see how much joy seeing Abby again brought to June.
June Was Shocked
During an interview with The Washington Post, Robinette discussed seeing June reunited with her missing pooch. Robinette said, “She looked up with tears streaming down her face, and said: ‘This is Abby. She’s been missing for three weeks.’ I was just floored.”
It was definitely a sight to behold, a lady hugging her dog in the middle of a Walmart with tears streaming down her face. Robinette did the only thing she could think of at the time; she began snapping pictures.
June Always Imagined Abby Finding Her Way Home
And Robinette wasn’t the only Walmart employee in total shock over the situation; June was having quite the day! During an interview with The Washington Post, she said, “I can’t express the feeling. All these people were there around the dog, and I couldn’t even talk to them.”
“Never in a million years did I think she would show up at Walmart.” Ironically, June had pictured reuniting with Abby countless times. But none of her daydreams included her place of employment.
Abby’d Never Seen The Inside Of The Walmart
June had been employed at the local Walmart for the past ten years. While she and her husband have seen inside the superstore multiple times over, Abby had never ventured inside, although she’s been to the surrounding woods and in the parking lot.
During an interview with The Washington Post, June was asked how Abby knew she’d be at Walmart. She was very honest with her answer, saying, “How she knew I worked there, I do not know,”
A Director Of Canine Science Had Something To Say
Thankfully, after seeing the story of June and Abby’s reunion. Clive Wynne, the director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, chimed in with his hypothesis on how the dog knew where to go.
The professor said, “I suspect that the dog was roaming around somewhere at random until it stumbled upon a familiar location. I think it is perfectly plausible and very likely that this dog was distressed and upset and trying to find [their] home.”
Dogs Have A Powerful Emotional Bond With Humans
Professor Wynne continued with his hypothesis, saying, “A dog’s navigation isn’t perfect, but it does recognize certain important, large landmarks. Dogs wander off in the heat of the moment — whether they spot a squirrel or food. But they have a tremendous connection and powerful emotional bond with their people.”
The bond goes two ways, too. When Abby first ran away, June and her husband went from door to door, asking if Abby had been by. They even visited the local shelters in case she was picked up.
The Search Was Over
June and her husband weren’t about to give up on their beloved rescue pooch that easily. They searched for weeks, thinking of all the places where Abby could possibly have run off to.
Thankfully, their search could come to a full-on stop since Abby decided it was time to return home. And if June has one thing to say about the reunion, it’s to thank whoever spotted Abby on her little adventure.
Someone Took Care Of Abby On Her Adventure
During her interview with The Washington Post, June mentioned Abby’s appearance, saying, “She wasn’t skin and bones. I want to thank whoever she came upon that gave her something to eat.”
Known to be a fun and loving dog, people, were probably all too eager to help Abby while also wondering where her humans were since she was way too clean to be a stray, not to mention she appeared to be in great health and physical condition.
Maybe It Was The Cold Weather?
Although there is still no telling where Aby went or how she managed to find her way to June’s Walmart, there is one theory (that has nothing to do with the professor!). During her interview, June told The Washington Post, “We kid at work that she must have known the weather was going to turn and wanted to find her way back so she could have her warm bed.”
Cold weather is a very good reason to go running home!
Finally, Abby Was Reunited With Her Sibling, Coco
After the tears dried, June took Abby home. There, she was welcomed by June’s husband and another very distraught member of the family, the Rountree’s 6-month-old Chiweenie, Coco. “Coco had just been lost and heartbroken without her,” June told The Washington Post.
She continued by saying, “It really is just unbelievable. It’s like a dream. You can’t make this stuff up.” After all of the hugs, kisses, and pets a loved pooch could ask for, Abby walked straight over to her bed, curled up, and went to sleep.