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Dog missing for 8 years turns up in Yuba County
Eight years ago Kristen Pruitt’s mixed breed pit bull, Petunia, wandered away from her family’s farm near Fredricksburg, Va. and never came back.
“I let her out that morning and saw her go down to the alpaca barns, which was her usual routine,” Pruitt said.
About an hour later, Pruitt realized Petunia, who was 3 years old at the time, had not shown up for breakfast.
“We’d definitely give up hope after eight years,” Pruitt said.
The Pruitts hung posters around town, put advertisements in the local newspaper and contacted animal shelters in the area with no luck.
On Thursday, Petunia was found in rural Yuba County - more than eight years and nearly 3,000 miles later.
An Oregon dog trainer, Meg Eden, found Petunia in the remote Spenceville Wildlife Area near Beale Air Force Base.
The dog was taken to Yuba County Animal Shelter where a microchip scan connected Petunia to a veterinary clinic in Fredricksburg, according to Debra Luis, supervisor at the Yuba County Animal Control Office.
“The Spenceville Wildlife Area is certainly a remote area, so, no, I have no idea how she got there,” Luis said. “It’s certainly possible that, over the years, she’s passed through many sets of hands; but, we just don’t know.”
Luis said the dog is in fine shape physically, though she also said there are signs the animal had not received enough nutrition in recent months.
“But, body-wise, she’s in great shape,” Luis said.
Pruitt said she was “dumbfounded” when she got word her dog had been found.
“And in California, of all places - wow,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt said she was also relieved.
Petunia is “a pit bull and my husband and I were always so worried that somebody had picked her up and used her for nefarious purposes,” Pruitt said.
Petunia’s cross-country journey remains a mystery, but Pruitt speculated the “friendly, gregarious” pooch may have simply “hopped into somebody’s truck and gone for a ride and just didn’t come back.”
Pruitt laughed as she described Petunia’s personality as she remembered it, describing her as “docile” and “passive” and even said her dog can be a little bit of coward - but, a lovable one.
“When a strange dog would come onto the farm, Petunia would run like a coward up onto the front porch and cower in the corner,” Pruitt reminisced. “She doesn’t like confrontation, she loves everybody.”
Details have not been finalized, but Pruitt said she plans to have the dog flown back to Virginia where Petunia will be reunited with the family’s other favorite dog, a Malti-Poo named Booboo - who also has a microchip.
“He was here when Petunia left and he’s still alive,” Pruitt said. “So, I’m anxious what happens when Booboo sees his buddy again after eight years.”
Pruitt said the dog’s surprise return comes just in time for the holidays.
“I can’t believe she’s still alive - how’d she get all the way to the wildlife refuge outside Sacramento?” Pruitt questioned. “I guess we’ll never know, but that’s OK, as long as she comes home.”
CONTACT reporter Rob Parsons at 749-4785