Homeward Bound: Dog reunites with owner after getting lost five years ago

KINSTON, NC (WITN) - They say good things come to those who wait and for one family in Kinston, it took five years of patience.

Sydney Blizzard lost her dachshund mix Xala from her yard five years ago.

"I let her out to use the bathroom one morning. When I went to let her back in, I couldn't find her. We drove around the neighborhood, we looked everywhere. We called neighbors. She never turned up,” Blizzard recalls.

But last month, she received a message she says is still hard to believe.

"I got a text from a random number and it said "We found your dog Xala," Blizzard explained.

That person was Judy Newberry of Hampton, Virginia.

Newberry says she found Xala on a leash, abandoned, in a parking lot in Hampton about a year and a half ago. After putting up signs, knocking on doors and calling animal services, she says she had no luck finding an owner, so she decided to give Xala a home.

"She was so cute. She was so lovable. She would come right up to you. She would answer to anything,” said Newberry.

During a vet visit in February, Newberry remembered that Xala could be checked for a microchip.

“She [the vet] came back and said the dog had a microchip. I was like, ‘I can’t believe this,’” Newberry explained.

That's how the veterinarian was able to track down Blizzard and tell her that her dog had been found.

"I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'it's been five years!,'" said Blizzard.​

Newberry added, "I was tearing up. It was amazing. I asked what the dogs real name was and she told me Xala. I said ‘Xala’ and she came right to me."

Coincidentally, Blizzard had a friend visiting a nearby town in Virginia. Her friend was able to pick up the dog and bring her home to North Carolina two days later for a reunion five years in the making.

“She recognized us. Basically how she was when I had her five years ago is how she is now,” said Blizzard.

Blizzard says she still doesn’t know whether Xala was stolen or if she ran away five years ago. It’s also unclear where she was and who was taking care of her up until the time Newberry found her in that parking lot.

Xala has been back in North Carolina for about a month now. Blizzard says she’s adjusted to her new home and is in good health.

Blizzard and Newberry have still never met in person, but Blizzard says she is thankful for Newberry’s willingness to return her beloved dog.

"I knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t know where that dog has been or what she’s gone through, but I know she’s made a lot of people happy,” said Newberry.

Blizzard and Newberry are still in contact and exchange photos of Xala from time to time.