PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sebastian Bernal is calling it “Homeward Bound 2020” after his 11-month-old corgi went missing and turned up nearly 1,000 miles from Portland.
Bernal said he was sitting on his porch on Sunday, Nov. 15 with his two dogs, Kobe and Rüfüs, when one of the dogs nudged the gate open and they both escaped.
Bernal chased after them for about 3 miles, but headed home when he couldn’t catch them.
The next morning, he and his girlfriend Annie Pippert saw a post on Nextdoor saying someone had found one of their dogs, Kobe.
The couple went to the veterinary clinic closest to where Kobe was found, Irvington Veterinary Clinic, to ask the staff if they’d by chance seen the corgi. The staff said they had seen the dog and that two women had brought him in about 20 minutes before the couple arrived. The women were checking to see if the dog had a microchip. When they found out it didn’t, the veterinary staff told them to take the dog to a shelter.
Bernal and Pippert thought their search was over, but soon realized none of the local shelters had Rüfüs.
“That’s when we started panicking a little bit. I think we thought it would be pretty easy to get him, especially like thinking he’d just go to the shelter. He’d just show up and so, I think most of that day we had some hope that we would find him at the shelter,” Pippert said.
Bernal and Pippert obtained the surveillance video from the veterinary clinic of the two women who brought their dog in and started sharing photos of the women on social media, asking if anyone recognized them.
They started posting flyers everywhere and even began working with a pet detective from Waggin’ Tails Search & Rescue.
Bernal said he was frustrated because he’d received text messages from people trying to scam him into giving him the reward. So, he was skeptical when he received a call from a woman in Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 19.
“She reached out and said, ‘I have your dog. I have Rüfüs. The weird news is that we’re in LA right now,’” Bernal said.
He quickly confirmed the woman did have his dog, but was baffled about how the dog had ended up so far from home.
The woman explained she was visiting a friend in Portland and was staying at an AirBnb when the dog walked into the house she was staying at. She said she was afraid Rüfüs could have been euthanized if she brought him to a shelter, so she decided to take him back to California with her after visiting the vet clinic.
She discovered the dog was missing when she saw a social media post showing her face from the veterinary clinic surveillance video.
Bernal hopped on a standby flight to LA as soon as he could and was reunited with Rüfüs. The two rented a car and made the long journey back to Portland together.
He’s still amazed at how the whole story ended.
“They had the dog! He wasn’t chipped. He didn’t have a collar. He’s not fixed. They could have kept him. They literally could have kept him. He was in LA. No one’s going to go find him in LA,” Bernal said.
He said he holds no ill will toward the woman who had his dog and is just grateful to have him back.
Rüfüs was scheduled to have a microchip implanted the first week of December. Now, Bernal and Pippert wished they had done it sooner. They also wish the veterinary clinic would have asked for the women’s contact information when they brought the dog in.
In the end, however, Bernal and Pippert say they’re both feeling extra grateful this Thanksgiving to have their beloved dog back home safely.