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After 7 Years, Missing Arkansas Dog Found

missing arkansas dog seven years

A dog that went missing seven years ago in northwest Arkansas soon will be reunited with her original owner after living under a different name for all that time with another family in the same town.

Andrew Navarette told animal control officers that he let his Shih Tzu, Mimi, out in the backyard of his Rogers Arkansas home seven years ago but that when he went to retrieve her she had disappeared. Navarette was unable to track Mimi down, even though she had a microchip implanted in her neck containing his contact information.

It is not clear what happened to Mimi that day, but some time later, Kim Rafter also of Rogers Arkansas acquired the animal from someone in good faith, renamed her Gizmo, and has cared for her ever since.

Meanwhile, Navarette relocated to Woodlake, California.

On Saturday, Mimi showed up at an animal shelter in Rogers where officials found the chip and called Navarette, who had kept the same cell phone number through the years.

It’s not known how Rafter lost the pooch.

“As far as I know, it was just running loose,” the shelter’s manager, Bud Norman. “It was picked up and brought into the shelter.”

Assistant shelter manager Matt Colston said Navarette was clearly excited that Mimi had been found and immediately said he would pay for the Shih Tzu to be shipped to his home in California.

Norman said Rafter called the shelter Wednesday after losing the dog, and that was how she found out that Mimi has another owner.

Rafter said it will be difficult to say goodbye to the animal her family has known as Gizmo for the past seven years and that she had no idea that the dog’s real owner had been looking for her.

“I’m a sympathetic person and I wouldn’t want to take anybody’s dog away, but I’m sure that, as little as she was when we got her, I’m sure we’re the only ones she’s bonded with.”

Norman called the dog’s saga “bittersweet” because while one family is thrilled, another is sad.

“It just amazes me when this happens,” he said. “I’m hoping people understand the power of a microchip, if they love their animals.”

Story by Elaine Furst for Dog Files

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Barbbfly2009
Barbbfly2009
10 years ago

Dogs  r  amazing – a real Gift  from GOD .  I ‘ve had to find homes for dogs and still occasionally pray for them and ask God  to give the new parents ”wisdom” and His compassion for them.

Because of my disibility and having to move into the city and to an apart. I found the best possibly better home for my pom/chi..   But It hurts sooo much that I’m never getting a dog again and cannot look at her pics.
Thx for helping ”society” see how wonderful and needed they r in this crazy world!   In a different world who realizes animals feel feelings and have needs I might’ve been able to keep my little angel   Cindy  … Thx God for the time I had with her and all my other dogs and pets (inside always my home)!!!

Sweetbean48
Sweetbean48
10 years ago
Reply to  Barbbfly2009

Not sure what kind of disability you have but you may benefit from a service dog. Reply if you would like to know more.

Sweetbean48
Sweetbean48
10 years ago

Mr. Navarette may have first owner rights but if he really cares for the dog he should leave her with the family that has cared for her the last 7 years. That’s where her heart will be.

Vee
Vee
10 years ago
Reply to  Sweetbean48

Animals never forget where they’ve been, and Mimi will have recognized her former owner. The dog would have moped around for a time before accepting the new owner. I’m surprised that Ms. Rafter didn’t double-check that the dog was indeed not listed with animal services. Whoever gave Ms. Rafter the dog needs to be investigated for possible “dognapping” Seriously!

jkb1415
jkb1415
10 years ago

its sad that ms rafter and/or the ‘someone in good faith’ hadnt taken the little baby into a vet to check for the chip…then she would have been returned to her owner & spared all the heartache he endured and now the rafters will :’o(

Really11
Really11
10 years ago
Reply to  jkb1415

mrs rafter DID take the dog immediately to the vet, and to the groomer many many times over the years she had her, and no one ever even mentioned to check for a microchip. should that not have been done immediately upon someone registering a dog as their own??

Silverhuskey
Silverhuskey
10 years ago

yeah I really think at 7 years old the other family has cared and loved that dog its a senior dog now for crying out loud leave that dog with its family  the first owner should honestly see this and be glad to know the dog is doing good and be happy to know that she is in a great caring family

Star Girl
10 years ago

They don’t say how long the original owner had her. Money talks. Maybe if the second owners pay the first owner & beg for the dog, he might decide to give her to them. They should do the classic TV saga…put both families in a wide space & have them both call the dog. Whoever the dog goes to & stays with, that’s who he should stay with permanently. 

Its_only_me
Its_only_me
10 years ago

I think in this case its in the dogs best interest to go to her current owners. The dog would have no memory of the original owners & the dog is going to fret being away from its the people she has bonded with over the last 7 years – I really feel for them.

Its_only_me
Its_only_me
10 years ago

I think in this case its in the dogs best interest to go to her current owners. The dog would have no memory of the original owners & the dog is going to fret being away from its the people she has bonded with over the last 7 years – I really feel for them.

Dms61757
Dms61757
10 years ago

After all this time 7yrs.  I would have let the family keep the dog

Andiebelle2009
Andiebelle2009
10 years ago

I agree.  It sounds like Mimi was a puppy when she got lost, and the Raftner family is the only family she has known.  If the original owner had a heart, he would leave her where she is. 

Vjnesbitt
Vjnesbitt
10 years ago

The first thing the people that found her should have done was have her checked for a microchip. If she didn’t have one and they did everything possible to locate the rightful owner, then and ONLY then would they have the right to keep her. It is sad for the dog, though, that she has to leave the family she knows best.

Lisa
9 years ago

Disturbing that the “shelter manager”, Bud Norman, refers to her as “it”!  She is not an “it”!  Welcome home, Mimi!

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