Kameroun Mares was already having a hard time when she met here husky puppy – she had just been diagnosed with cancer. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, to be exact.
Semper Fidelis – it means “Always faithful/loyal” in Latin. And while, sure, it’s the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, it was also her puppy’s name. And he did remain loyal – at least for what little time she had with him after giving him a home in the summer of 2013 after she underwent chemotherapy.
Three years later, Mares needed further medical treatment and had to leave Florida for a short time to be treated in California. She asked her roommate to watch the puppy.
But she later got a phone call that made her heart sink and that would set off yet another emotionally straining years-long journey.
“I was told by my ex-roommate that he was missing,” Mares said.
She came home and searched everywhere. Even when she moved across to country to California in late 2016, she never stopped calling shelters and asking about him.
“For a year, I continued searching while in California, posting up fliers via pet sites, calling 15 vet places around were I used to live over there about him, calling the humane societies about him, shelters,” Mares told The Dodo in a 2018 interview. “[I] posted info about him on Facebook, lost dog forums, and pages and groups. Every day I waited for a phone call about someone finding him … His microchip is registered to me since he was 3 months [old] … yet I received nothing. I was worried sick about him, and missed him dearly.”
She missed her dog so much she even hired private investigator Ana Campos to help track him down.
Sound like too much?
Well, that turned out to be the key.
Campos found the dog. And it was lucky that Mares had been a diligent dog owner who properly registered his microchip – but apparently wires can still get crossed.
“She had purchased a lifetime registration with AKC Reunite,” Campos told The Dodo. “A year into this someone suggested she check her AKC Reunite chip again. So she went to the humane society in May 2017 and they checked online … That is when she discovered that a year earlier, on April 11, 2016, a woman added her name to Semper’s chip.”
How can you simply add your name to a microchip?
“He was stolen and sold by her roommate 2 1/2 years ago. She [Mares] was told he was lost on April 30, 2016. But on April 11, 2016 the buyer added their name to his AKC Reunite ‘registered chip’. They registered this registered chip on Petkey pets instead. Petkey pets did not bother to see if he was chipped already,” Campos posted on Facebook.
But the people who had been caring for Semper didn’t know his true owner was searching for him. He had been stolen by her former roommate and sold on Craigslist for a mere $200.
Of course, Semper’s owners wanted to keep the dog they had cared for 2 and a half years and paid $200 for. But “finders keepers” or even “payers keepers” isn’t how it works.
Mares won the case and they were reunited in a video that can’t help but bring a tear to your eye.
And while we really feel for the dog’s second owners, who did nothing but love the dog they bought from Craigslist, it’s nice to see the woman who never stopped looking for him get him back.
Semper Fidelis – always loyal.
He recognized Mares, who was in tears at the sight of her long lost pup.
And, yes, it took some time for the pup to adjust to his new home. But all was well within a short time and he was enjoying long walks in the California sun.
“Being able to play a role in this reunion and being present was one of the best days of my life,” Campos said.
Mares, whose cancer was thankfully in remission at the last update, knew that loyalty was the key when she met her puppy for the first time. And he had always kept his original owner in his heart.
“He still remembers his commands and tricks that I taught him,” Mares said. “My special favorite one is the ‘go home’ command … I tell him, ‘Semper, go home. Where’s home? Go home.'”
And Semper goes to his new, California doorstep.
Be sure to scroll down below to see the emotional reunion.
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