SANTA TERESA, N.M. (KRQE) – When a pet goes missing, people often do all they can to find their furry family members. After years of searching, one New Mexico man finally got a phone call, from a place he never expected.
Three years ago, Ricardo Dominguez asked a friend to watch his dog at their Santa Teresa ranch in southern New Mexico.
His chocolate Labrador, Brownie, was his best friend.
“Everything I do, whatever I do he does with me, we’re just a team,” Dominguez told KRQE News 13.
That same day three years ago, Brownie disappeared. Dominguez suspects his dog was stolen.
“It was like they kidnapped one of my kids,” he recalled. “That’s how important this dog is to me.”
He searched everywhere he could.
“We went looking at shelters, dog pounds, I mean I drove around all over ranches, you name it, everywhere.”
He said four months after Brownie went missing, he spotted him in the back of someone’s truck, but he couldn’t make a U-turn quick enough on the road since he was hauling horses and a trailer.
Three years passed. Then Friday, Dominguez got an unexpected call from his girlfriend.
“‘Rick are you sitting down?’ I said, ‘Yes, well I’m driving.'”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Brownie was found.
“I said ‘What do you mean they found my dog?’ And she’s like, ‘Yeah, Brownie.’ And I said, ‘What?!'”
But there was a catch. Brownie was found in San Diego, California.
He said at that point, his girlfriend asked him what he wanted to do.
“There’s nothing to talk about. Let’s go get him,” Dominguez said.
He drove all night, 720 miles to reunite with Brownie at the San Diego County Animal Services facility.
The moment was captured on cell phone video by a San Diego employee.
“I guess he saw my cowboy hat and he just, he started dragging that girl on the leash,” Dominguez recalled. “He came at me and jumped on me, he just went crazy.”
“I told him, ‘I never gave up on you, buddy. I knew I was gonna find you someday,'” Dominguez told News 13.
On the way home, the two made a pit-stop at the Grand Canyon.
Brownie is now back in New Mexico, thanks to his microchip.
Dominguez said he wishes his dog could tell him where’s he’s been, or how he was treated over the past three years. He’s thankful to have Brownie back home.
Brownie has a new sibling in Santa Teresa, a black lab.
Dominguez said Brownie is back to being his travel buddy, and won’t leave his side.
“We’re a happy family again,” said Dominguez.
Dominguez said he shared his story to remind people how important it is to microchip their pets.