Sandra O'Neill was absolutely devastated when her three-year-old German Shepherd-mix Zeppelin escaped the family home in Sacramento, California, back in early 2022.
Zeppelin had felt the call of the wild before but usually came back after a few hours. But that didn't happen this time. The hours turned into days, the days turned into months, and nearly a year and a half later, Zeppelin was still missing.
"You found him, where?"
But then, just a few days before Christmas, Sandra received the call she'd been waiting for and praying for. Someone had found Zeppelin and handed him over to a shelter.
Staff identified him via his microchip. Those things really do work. Every dog needs one. It's something that we'll say over and over again.
All Sandra had to do now was pick up her pooch. But there was only one problem. Zeppelin had (somehow) made his way to Kansas, which is more than 1,400 miles away from where he went missing. That's what you call a good walk.
But Sandra has her own theory on how Zeppelin ended up in Kansas. She thinks he made friends with some guys working on a construction site near her home.
"This dog has never met a stranger in his life," said Sandra. "He's a very outgoing, loving dog. So every day, he'd go down there to the site. Either he'd come home on his own, or I would go out to get him."
"I have no proof, but I think somebody down there fell in love with him and took him home."
Zeppelin comes home
One of Sandra's friends volunteered to drive her to Kansas and bring Zeppelin home. Zeppelin was overjoyed to see his human again and very well-behaved on the long drive home.
"I'm so grateful for all of the good folks who helped get this big puppy home to us," said Sandra. "The big drive back was no problem. Zeppelin loves car rides!"