SODUS TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Man's best friend was reunited with his Texas family Tuesday after missing for months in the wilds of West Michigan.
Jennifer Hysell, of Dallas, Texas, was staying with family in Bangor, Michigan, for her father's funeral in late July and her pit bull companion, Parker, was along for the ride.
Hysell was staying in a camper on her families property when Parker happened to get loose and wander off.
After searching for the remaining days she had left in Michigan, Hysell had to return to Texas.
"We had my family, and everybody being aware, posting on Facebook from day one," she said.
Everyday they were in contact with Van Buren County Animal Control, and sending e-mails giving out descriptions of their beloved pooch.
Word got around to Jenny Loyd, of South Haven, who, along with over a dozen others, frantically searched for Parker.
"Being a southern dog he doesn't know about Michigan winters, so that was our main concern," Loyd said.
In Late November, Loyd spotted Parker walking behind the Old Village Market in South Haven.
"At first I didn’t know if it really was Parker, I’m like, 'Is this the dog we’re looking for?' Pit bulls don’t usually have a bushy tail like him so I reached out to Jennifer in our private Facebook group and said, 'Could you send me pictures of his tail?' I needed to verify that this was actually Parker and not to waste her time," she said.
During the weeks to follow Parker was only spotted on trail cameras and through foot prints on the ground.
The group of searchers created a Facebook group called "Parker's Markers" and attempted to catch Parker.
Loyd said a Missy trap, which is a kennel with bait on a string that shuts the door behind the dog, was set.
"He was too smart for that," she said.
On Dec. 11, after a four month and 11 mile journey, Parker was captured in a Missy trap using an invisible laser beam to close the door.
After the phone call Hysell had been waiting for for months, she and her husband left Texas on Monday for Michigan and drove straight through the night to arrive on Tuesday.
Hysell said knowing she would be reunited with her furry friend was all the motivation she needed to make the 15-hour trip.
"You know how you got that adrenaline it’s just running through your body because I knew the wait was finally over. All this pain and suffering, all this trying to figure out, was he hurt, was he dead or alive. Knowing that he was safe and now he’s coming home now, he’s not scared anymore, that’s what matters," she said.
Hysell and Loyd finally met the group of searchers at Jassy's Grooming, in Sodus Township where Parker was staying until his family reunion.
After meeting all of those who helped out, Hysell is grateful for each and everyone of them.
"The army that got together, and not all of them knew each other and they went ahead and got together because of Parker the Marker, as we call him, because he really put a mark on our life," she said.
While the moment had a lasting impression on Loyd, she knows that there's other animals out there that need to find their way back home.
Loyd encouraged everyone to spay and neuter their animals.
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