Lifestyle & Human Interest

Family Dog Who Went Missing 2 Years Ago Found Abandoned Nearly 2,000 Miles Away


A South Florida family was bursting with excitement when they were reunited with their 2-year-old German Shepherd who mysteriously vanished from their backyard almost exactly two years ago.

Cedar was just a four-month-old puppy when she disappeared from her home in the spring of 2017.

“Somebody either stole her out of the yard or she got out of the yard. We’re not 100 percent sure, but she disappeared,” Doug Peterson told WSVN. “We hadn’t heard anything from her for several years.”

But Cedar’s family had microchipped their puppy, and thanks to that decision, plus some compassionate strangers who helped along the way, Cedar arrived back in Florida all the way from Colorado on April 20.

Tamara Peterson, elated over Cedar’s safe return, remembers the feelings of helplessness and devastation after Cedar vanished.

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“We put up signs everywhere, we drove the car, we checked neighborhoods, I hired a private investigator,” Peterson told the Miami Herald. “For weeks and weeks and then months. We were just devastated.”

Somehow, Cedar wound up almost 2,000 miles away from her family, in the town of Hugo, Colorado. A resident noticed the stray dog and called local law enforcement for help.

When Hugo Deputy Marshal Steve Ryan found Cedar, she was too weak to even walk into his patrol car.

“The dog was actually snow covered, so I passed it twice — didn’t even see it,” Ryan said in an interview with Wings of Rescue. “She actually wouldn’t get up, so I had to pick her up and put her in my car. She was wet — appeared to be malnourished.”

Ryan took the dog to a veterinarian, who discovered that Cedar was microchipped, and belonged back in sunny Florida with her family.

Tamara Peterson was in tears when she got the news that Cedar had been found.

“I immediately cried,” Tamara Peterson told the Herald. “I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. It’s almost two years to the day.”

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Cedar remained in veterinary care for three weeks while she regained the strength to travel, and was eventually placed in the care of Wings of Rescue, an organization that flies at-risk pets to shelters of safety.

The Peterson family met Wings of Rescue pilot Ted DuPuis on the tarmac to welcome Cedar home, planning to throw a pool party in her honor.

The family is grateful for the many hands who helped Cedar along the way, and encourages owners to microchip their pets.

“There’s a movie in there somewhere,” said Ric Browde, president and CEO of Wings of Rescue. “Microchipping saves lives. There’s no doubt about it.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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