Good Samaritan helps reunite service dog with owner after animal goes missing in Utah County

Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 08:31:18-04

UTAH -- A Cedar City service dog lost for days is back home, safe and sound, after a good Samaritan spotted the dog and followed her near the town of Genola on Wednesday.

Two-year old Shea disappeared from a home in Genola, near Santaquin, earlier this month.

Her owner Shari Swift brought the dog there to breed puppies that would also become service animals.

Ten days after she went missing, she was back sitting on Swift's lap happy and tired.

"Yep, you're my girl," Swift said, hugging her German Shepherd tightly.

At one point, Shea licked Swift on the face as Swift lovingly said, "Oh, I missed you."

Shea is Swift's service dog for PTSD. She said Shea helps her with daily activities, and is trained to do a number of things including waking her from nightmares.

"It was virtually overwhelming not having her around," Swift said.

After Shea bolted from the house where she was to breed, 200 miles from Shari's home, the little town of Genola came together to look for Shea.

Danielle Harmon, who was taking care of Shea during breeding and owns the male dog she was to breed with, made missing posters and hung them all around the area.

Local resident Brad Zoebell saw them, and said he kept an eye out.

On Wednesday, as he drove on a road close to Harmon's home, he saw Shea and started to follow her.

"I was afraid the dog was going to disappear on me," he said.

Zoebell said he immediately grabbed one of the missing posters from a nearby stop sign and called Harmon.

"I said, 'Okay, will you please just keep following her,'" Harmon said, upon receiving Zoebell's phone call. She said she rushed out to his location, and several others including Santaquin Police jumped in on the chase.

"It was quite a menagerie," Zoebell said. He said the group followed Shea, "Through the farmer's back fields and into their backyards, and the dog was having none of it."

"We chased her up and down fields for miles," Harmon said.

Somewhere around two hours later, they cornered Shea behind a home about four miles from Harmon's house.

Upon hearing the news, Swift immediately drove up to reunite with her sweet girl.

"She's hungry and obviously exhausted, and we can get her through all those things," she said.

Swift is grateful Shea isn't seriously injured, and that the town came together for her and Shea.

"I just gotta thank everybody," Swift said, with tears in her eyes, "For bringing her home."