REUNITED: Missing Hanover, Minn. assistance dog welcomed home - KMSP-TV

REUNITED: Missing Hanover, Minn. assistance dog welcomed home

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HANOVER, Minn. (KMSP) -

A service dog trained by Can Do Canines was found Wednesday night after going missing from a family's home in Hanover, Minn.

Geena, a 2-year-old, 50-pound black lab, was not wearing her red vest or collar when she escaped on Tuesday afternoon, but roughly 30 hours later, she was back at home.

DOG TAKEN 40 MILES NORTH

Word of mouth helped neighbors discover there had been a lost-lab mixup after the neighbor who located Geena took to Craigslist to check postings about missing dogs.

A family was contacted and came to the neighbor's house and brought Geena to their home in Nowthen, Minn. -- but conversations quickly led that neighbor to wonder if the dog that had been driven 40 miles north actually belonged a bit closer to home. 

After countless phone calls, Geena was brought back home at about 11 p.m. -- and if distance truly makes the heart grow fonder, the reunion of Tyler Pinor and the assistance dog he waited more than a year for is proof. 

'I AM JUST SO HAPPY'

Pinor admitted his home felt empty since his beloved mobility dog went missing on Tuesday afternoon.

"You start to wonder, 'Okay, what just happened?'" he said. "She hasn't barked."

Pinor was born with cerebral palsy, and he was matched up with the young black lab at the end of his junior year of high school. Inmates and volunteers helped raise the pup, and Geena's training has an estimated value of $25,000.

"If we were to go and leave and there was a fire in the house -- that's the way he would get out," Wendy and Dave Pinor explained. "She would get him through that door. It's a lot of peace of mind that she's here."

Pinor said he gave Geena her command to go outside, but the family later realized that the gate wasn't latched -- possibly blown open by the wind.

A 'TRAINABLE' MOMENT

Both Can Do Canines and the Pinor family are now looking at the ordeal as an opportunity to learn. Tyler Pinor says he's learned never to let Geena out without her collar again -- but as for the group that trained her, they hope more people will use microchips to ID lost pets instead of Craigslist. 

According to Can Do Canines, the best thing to do if a lost pet is found is to take the animal to a veterinarian or contact Animal Control because any should be able to use a microchip reader to access owner contact information.

Can Do Canines trains puppies to become assistance dogs to bring mobility, independence and companionship to a person with a disability. This is the second time in its 25-year history that a dog has gone missing.

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