Couple reunited with lost service dog after five months

A Washington state couple has been reunited with their service dog – five months after she disappeared from their home.

The dog named Lakota disappeared from Ken and Barb Toczek's home on Oct. 9. Ken is a disabled diabetic.

A handler tracked the 4-year-old female Australian Shepard down a forest service road and determined she was picked up by a vehicle.

"We don't know who took her," Barb said. "It was hunting season at the time she disappeared. We speculate it was a hunter that came through."

The Toczeks hired an international K-9 search unit to look for the dog and posted a notice on Craigslist.

Then, on Thursday, they got a phone call from the Whatcom Humane Society: "We think we have your dog."

At first the Toczeks were skeptical because they had had a lot of leads, but sure enough it was Lakota.

"I never thought we'd see her again," Barb said.

Apparently Lakota had showed up in Bellingham, Wash. on Oct. 10, was put in a foster home, then adopted out to a man who had her until Thursday, when he brought her back to the shelter because Lakota wasn't good with the man's girlfriend's children.

Unfortunately, Lakota was without her collar and was not chipped.

"They went on Craigslist and found her picture," Barb says.

They used a pet locator phone app and sure enough, they found Lakota's family.

"So we drove up right away and picked her up," said Barb. "She's home and we're very happy, we're just ecstatic."


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