Smoke, the pit bull, went on a 2,500-mile journey thanks to volunteers nationwide who took turns driving the dog over a four-day period
The dog was found on the side of the road by police
Smoke's owner, Eric Hough, will see his dog again on Sunday after three years
Published: 17:56 EST, 6 July 2013 | Updated: 19:28 EST, 6 July 2013>
The Californian owner of a pit bull that went missing three years ago will be reunited with his dog tomorrow after it was found on the other side of the country.
Smoke, the pit bull, was found in Florida after mysteriously disappearing from Eric Hough’s Huntington Beach home four months after it was adopted.
The dog vanished the same day Hough evicted a problematic tenant who was renting a room in his five-bedroom house.
Reunited: The pit bull, Smoke, was driven by volunteers from Florida to his home in California after disappearing three years ago
Pet detective: Ryan Gamache (right) tracked down Smoke's owner
Hough, a professional BMX rider, alerted the police but Smoke was never found.
Authorities in Cocao, Florida, found the black pit bull on the street on June 6 and delivered it to a shelter as a stray.
The shelter found the dog’s microchip and pulled up Hough’s details, but they were unable to reach him on the telephone numbers listed, so Smoke was put up for adoption.
The pit bull’s story was posted on a local website that tries to unite pets with owners, which was seen by a Seattle-based pet detective, Ryan Gamache, who was intrigued by Smoke’s story.
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Gamache, who volunteers for a non-profit group called Missing Pet Partnership, tracked down Hough through his friends and sponsors.
At first Hough thought it was a hoax and almost dismissed the group's approach, until Gamache mentioned his old address from which Smoke went missing.
‘I was like, "Oh, wow. This is about me. Wait, is this about the pit bull?" And it suddenly just came back. I was, like, two seconds away from losing the opportunity to ever get him back again,’ Hough told
Smoke's owner, Eric Hough, is a professional BMX rider who lives in Huntington Beach, California
Coast to coast: Smoke traveled clear across the country, from California to Florida, before being found and reunited with his owner
Heather McNally and a nonprofit volunteer group called Kindred Hearts stepped in to help reunite Smoke with his owner.
The group has volunteers across the country that help transport adopted and missing pets to their homes.
The trip to pick up Smoke would have cost Hough about $2,500 and the volunteers told him there was no need.
McNally mobilised the network of volunteers and broke the 2,500-mile trip from Florida to California into four days and 30 legs of driving.
Helping hands: Volunteers across the country took turns driving Smoke from Florida to California
Smoke was driven home to California with the help of a network of nationwide volunteers
The non-profit group, Kindred Spirits, helped mobilise the team of volunteers across the country
Each volunteer drove about an hour and a half and some volunteers signed up to spend the night with Smoke in motels or houses.
‘People from all over the country that I've never met are doing all the driving for him,’ McNally told
ABCNews.com . ‘It's almost addicting. Once you do it once, you just want to do another. It feels so good to be able to help a dog.’
Smoke's trip began on July 4 and he is scheduled to arrive home to Hough in California on Sunday night.
‘I'm very thankful for the people helping,’ Hough said. ‘It's just amazing that we're getting him back.’
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2357587/Pit-bull-reunited-Californian-owner-disappearing-years-ago-turning-FLORIDA.html