It took 12 years for Katheryn Strang to be reunited with Dutchess, her beloved fox terrier.
But the tear-jerking moment finally arrived Friday in Pittsburgh, over 1,100 miles from Strang's home of Boca Raton, Florida, when the two were brought together again. With Dutchess in her arms, Strang joked, "Can you tell me some stories?"
Dutchess went missing in February 2007, and it is unclear how she managed to travel hundreds of miles to Pittsburgh. A resident found her under a shed cold, hungry and unkempt and took her to the Humane Animal Rescue. Staff identified Dutchess by scanning a microchip affixed to her and found that her owner lived in Florida.
"When she got that call from us, she was in disbelief. She couldn't believe it was happening," Zac Seymour, manager of digital communications at Humane Animal Rescue, told USA TODAY.
Strang trekked for 11 hours to take Dutchess back home. Seymour told USA TODAY that Strang was nervous even just before seeing her fox terrier again.
Strang did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
"When it happened, she got really emotional," he said. "It was very emotional for everyone. That's a powerful moment for when a dog is lost for 12 years. For all she knew, she would never see Duchess again and that moment was moving for everyone."
Seymour advised pet owners of all kinds - not just dogs, he emphasized - to consider microchipping their pets and registering their pet in case they do end up lost and far from home.
"It's such a small price to pay for that peace of mind," he said.
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_boteThis article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida woman reunites with dog missing for 12 years in Pittsburgh