SOUTH PARIS — On June 23 last year, Kaiser, a 5-year-old German shepherd-malamute mix, slipped his collar at a kennel in Massachusetts and wandered north.

Last month, a homeowner in East Bethel spotted the dog. Her freezer had just died, and she kept meat on her front porch and noticed Kaiser stealing from the stash. She called animal control, and it took three and a half weeks until Sue Milligan of Bethel Animal Control finally was able to trap him.

From Bethel, Kaiser was taken to Responsible Pet Care, an animal shelter in South Paris, where caretakers were able to identify his owner as Tom Wollacott of Ashby, Massachusetts.

Last Friday, Kaiser was reunited with his owner, some 200 miles from where they last saw each other.

Kelly Ouellette, a technician at Responsible Pet Care, took care of Kaiser after he was brought to the shelter.

“For the first two days, he wouldn’t move. He shook in the back of his room,” said Ouellette, and she quickly grew attached to the animal.

“He’s kind of a favorite right now, because he’s such a good boy,” she said.

Ouellette, who recently lost a dog and took to Kaiser right away, planned on adopting the dog if no one claimed him.

Wollacott said he was surprised to get the call that his dog had been found, but “I figured he was somewhere.”

During his stay at Responsible Pet Care, the runaway became known as Grizz and many people wanted to adopt him. So Wollacott had to prove ownership.

The man knew very specific information about some dental oddities in Kaiser’s mouth, and when shelter volunteer Morgan Miles approached the dog and called his name, Kaiser “lifted his head right up and stared me dead in the face,” she said.

“He’s done fantastic for being out as long as he has; he’s been very quick. You see dogs that have been out less time than him that take significantly longer to come around,” said Miles, who is also a board member of Responsible Pet Care and volunteers with Maine Lost Dog Recovery.

In 2018, Maine Lost Dog Recovery brought 1,073 lost dogs home safe. Kaiser’s case stands out, mainly because of the distance and the dog’s ability to quickly re-adapt after being on his own for so long.

When Wollacott arrived at the shelter Friday, Kaiser sniffed his long-lost owner for a few seconds, then jumped on Wollacott and zoomed around the room, wild with joy.

“A 5-year-old is looking forward to seeing him,” said Wollacott. First on the to-do list when Kaiser gets home? A nice bath, and a big steak.


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