ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — A family in Ohio is exhilarated to have their dog back thanks to a viral video, but hope was admittedly dwindling.
On the night of Sept. 27, Deb Liden, whose passion is helping and finding lost pets, received a call from Romeoville Animal Control.
They were having a tough time getting a cute American Pit Bull, with one dark eye and one blue eye, inside.
Liden was helping another dog in Oswego, so her friends Jill Boland and Brian James were able to lay in the grass for hours to loop the dog, later identified as King, for intake.
Earlier, when Boland arrived, King was howling and wouldn’t leave a particular spot in a parking lot near the 1200 block of Normantown Road.
“We knew he was not a dump and obviously a trucker’s dog,” Liden told WGN News.
Boland was able to take heartbreaking footage of King howling, waiting for his owner, truck driver Brandon Weh, to return. They also contacted nearby businesses, which showed surveillance footage of King looking for Weh.
“At one point, he tried to get into another parked semi,” Liden said.
Weh, a cross-country truck driver, was doing his pre-drive check, when King accidently got out of the front seat.
“He would have stayed and looked longer but dispatch was calling,” his wife Tinnea Weh said.
So Weh had to leave and was unsure of what suburb he was in. The Weh family, including their four kids, was devastated that 5-year-old King did not return home.
Tinnea quickly made a post and started scouring the internet in hopes to find King. She also called shelters in Chicago, but he was in Romeoville.
“I was overwhelmed with emotions because I was giving up hope,” Weh said. “I am checking the shelters and no one brought him in. It was just me.”
But little did Tinnea know at the time that Liden, Boland, James and their friend Jennifer Christine were brainstorming ways to make King “famous.”
“We try to make a missing dog ‘famous’ in the town so everyone knows,” Liden said.
She also stressed the importance of making sure people know not to chase lost dogs and to call them with sightings.
Her friend Jennifer posted a Facebook reel showing King howling for Brian and looking extremely sad.
Jennifer posted it on Thursday and before the team knew it, the video had been shared over 1,000,000 times.
While Tinnea was losing hope over 300 miles away at the family’s home in Springfield, Ohio, she had no idea she was about to see the video too.
“I am in a truckers’ group on Facebook and seen it and I was like ‘that’s King! My husband had just came in and I was like ‘babe this is King, he has his blue eye, that’s his spot — tell me I’m not losing my mind,” Weh said.
Weh commented on the reel and was soon connected to Jennifer and Deb, who arranged with Romeoville Animal Control for Weh and her family to pick up King on Sunday.
Weh took her kids without Brandon, who was still on the road, and set on a six-hour journey to Romeoville.
“When I got there I was already trying to fight back tears, ‘I’m here, everything from here is real,'” she said.
King recognized his lost family almost instantly.
“When he came through the door, he kind of stopped a little bit — he was like ‘these are my people, these are my little humans,'” Weh said. “His tail started wagging and I started crying all over again.”
The reunion was caught on camera.
While Brandon has Facetimed with King, Tinnea said he is excited to get back home to reunite with his sidekick.
Liden said it is her favorite story to date since getting involved with helping lost dogs and stressed the importance of microchipping.
King is back with his family and as happy as can be.
“I am so grateful that they were there and actually wanted to meet me and his family,” Weh said.