Hurricane Irma helps reunite owner with dog missing for 5 years - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hurricane Irma helps reunite owner with dog missing for 5 years

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FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. -

Hurricane Irma hit Florida hard, but for one pet owner, the storm brought one positive outcome.

Like many others, Pete Mayher was reunited with his lost dog after Irma. But unlike most, Mayher's dog had gone missing five years earlier.

Mayher says in 2012, his two dogs, Wizzer and Max, got out of his back yard in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Max was found a few days later about 5 miles away, but Wizzer was still missing.

Mayher told weather.com that he believes someone took Wizzer and was using him as a guard dog. He says when he finally got him back, the dog had lost a lot of weight, down to 55 lbs from 90 lbs. He thinks that whoever had Wizzer for those years decided to abandon the dog when they were forced to evacuate because of the hurricane.

Eventually someone rescued Wizzer and turned him in to an animal shelter about 15 miles from Fort Myers. The staff there was able to contact Mayher because of Wizzer's microchip. Mayher said when he got the call, he said he wasn't missing a dog because he has two others that were safe. But then he asked if it might be Wizzer. The staff told him that was the name on the dog's tag.

Mayher says he's now reunited with his 14-year-old pup, and although the dog was a little weak when he picked him up, Wizzer has recovered and is doing well. 

Mayher says the reunion is a great reminder to all pet owners to get your pets microchipped.

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