Dash goes home after eight years

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KOLO) Reunions are nothing new at airports. They happen all day, every day.
But one Tuesday afternoon in Oklahoma City was years in coming and the fact it was so unlikely and unexpected in the first place made it special.

At the center of the reunion, a tiny chihuahua named Dash. Around him, a family he hadn't seen in eight years.

Dash disappeared from a Sparks back yard in 2008. He was wearing a collar with ID and his owner, Katrina Zmaila, did everything she could to find him, finally accepting she'd never know what happened to him.

That remains a mystery. Where he's been and with whom is unknown, but two weeks ago he was found wandering the streets of northeast Reno and was turned into Washoe County Animal Services as a stray.

He ended up at the Nevada Humane Society, where the need for some medical attention kept him off the adoption list long enough for word from Washoe County Animal Services to track down his owner through his microchip.

Katrina Zmaila moved to Oklahoma City two years ago and had long since given up hope of ever knowing even what had happened to him.
When she got the letter she didn't open it at first.

"I thought it was just a notification that my other dog's shots were due," she says.

Then she said she worried it would be news he'd been euthanized.

"Anyway, so I didn't look at it, and I was just going through the mail and I thought 'Oh I'll just look at it and see what it says' and I was just in complete disbelief and shock."

It's an unexpected addition to a family that includes a couple other dogs and she says his introduction will have to be worked out. Still, she wanted him to come home.

"It was a blessing to know he was alive and safe," she told us.

The whole family took turns holding Dash, who seemed to accept it all.

Later at home, Zmaila says he'd already been taken for walks. Introduction to the other dogs, especially another chihuahua named Batman, is still to be worked out, but the family loves him and he seems to be returning that affection.

She tells us it's not clear if he recognizes her, but Dash is settling in with her family and appears to be the same happy friendly little dog she remembers.

None of this would have happened without that microchip and Dash's story serves as a reminder that one can make all the difference when a pet goes missing.

Washoe County Animal Services offers free microchipping. You'll find more information on this website under Hot Topics.