JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Rogers, Arkansas woman will soon be reunited with her 11-year-old white terrier after he went missing three years ago. That terrier ended up in Jonesboro at the NEA Humane Society.
"We had a nice young gentleman come in with him and said he had found him wandering the streets," said Margaret Shepherd, executive director of the NEA Humane Society. "With these cold temps, he was afraid he might get hit by a car or freeze so he brought him in."
That's when the vet tech at the humane society scanned him for a microchip and learned that his name was Kernel and he was from Rogers.
"We called his owner up and were just thrilled we found her," said Shepherd.
The phone call was very unexpected for Kernel's owner, Merideth Hanks.
"They called me and were like, 'Hey we got this dog today and we scanned his chip and he belongs to you,'" said Hanks. "I just stood in shock and was like um, 'you found what?' They said his name and I was like 'Yep that is definitely my dog who's been missing for over three years!'"
Hanks got Kernel in 2006 in Missouri. There, she learned his father's name was Popcorn which is where she got his name from.
"I had him before I had kids and then I later had kids and now they are older and all are ready to see their dog again," said Hanks.
Hanks said throughout Kernel's life, he's been known to be an escape artist.
"When he was about 5 or 6, the Rogers Animal Control chipped him because he had gotten out and they were like 'You might want to microchip him before this happens again,'" said Hanks.
The fifth time Kernel escaped, Hanks couldn't find him.
"My kids are not the best at closing doors and when I found out he was gone I noticed the garage door was open," said Hanks. "We all took to the streets looking for him and when we didn't find him, we reached out to animal control, Facebook, and our radio station that ran something about him."
Hanks said she searched for Kernel a solid month before realizing he was never coming back.
"I certainly cried off and on for months thinking 'God I can't believe we never found Kernel,'" said Hanks.
Thanks to that microchip, the NEA Humane Society found him for her.
"To be able to find the family and that he has been missing for three years this was so heartwarming," said Shepherd.
Now, Hanks wants every pet owner to microchip their animals because it can make a difference one day.
"I can't stress enough that microchipping was important then, but even more so now," said Hanks
Hanks said she will now look into an electrical fence so that Kernel doesn't escape again.
She plans to pick him up from the Humane Society Saturday morning.