Crime & Courts

Woman flying from San Diego to Charlotte to reunite with long-lost dog

Bemis, an Italian greyhound, will be reunited with his owner on Saturday, seven years after he disappeared.
Bemis, an Italian greyhound, will be reunited with his owner on Saturday, seven years after he disappeared. American Kennel Club

Kelly Accettola was living in Virginia seven years ago when she let her Italian greyhound, Bemis, outside to go to the bathroom. Bemis never returned.

“I lost a part of myself and my heart when he was stolen,” Accettola said on Facebook, convinced someone had taken her beloved dog.

Tears flowed this week when she opened a letter with the news that Bemis had been found in Gastonia by a Good Samaritan. It’s unclear how the dog made its way to North Carolina.

The woman who found the dog took Bemis to a vet, who scanned him and detected an AKC Reunite microchip. AKC Reunite is a pet recovery service of the American Kennel Club.

The Good Samaritan called AKC Reunite Jan. 30 to let the service know she found the dog and that he was healthy and not wearing a collar. She said she would hang onto the dog until the service found his owner, Samantha Seymour, spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, told the Observer.

But every time someone from AKC Reunite called Accettola’s number, the recording said the number was not accepting calls at the time. So a letter was sent that was forwarded to Accettola’s mother-in-law, who got it to Accettola in San Diego, where she now lives. AKC Reunite is covering all of Bemis’s vet bills, Seymour said.

Accettola was scheduled to fly to Charlotte on Friday and reunite with Bemis Saturday morning at Wilkinson Animal Hospital in Gastonia.

“I cannot control my emotions right now as I anticipate this incredible day that is to come,” Accettola said. “You know, you hear these miracle stories about people who get their missing pets back after years apart and you think, ‘That’ll never happen to me,’ but my God, it has!”

The woman who found Bemis “is a guardian angel, and I will never be able to thank her for everything she has done for me and for our dog,” Accettola said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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