CALGARY - Buddy the purloined Labrador retriever is heading home to Arkansas from Calgary after being on the lamb for four long years.
Calgary animal control officers found the purebred chocolate lab last week roaming around.
When they checked a microchip imbedded in the dog's skin, they discovered that he had been stolen as a puppy from a family who live just outside of the state capital of Little Rock.
Bill Bruce, director of animal control, says it turns out that Buddy lived in Oregon for awhile and then British Columbia before turning up in Calgary.
Buddy's registered name is Rivers, and his owners are thrilled at the prospect of getting him back.
"We're just excited, I can't wait to see him," Mary Sue Farmer said Monday night in a telephone interview from her home near Little Rock.
Her son, Peter, got the call from a Calgary animal control officer.
"She said, 'I just scanned this dog and your name comes up', and he said his heart started beating really fast. He said, 'Are you talking about Rivers?' and she said, 'Well, I think so, can you come and get him?'
"He said, 'Where are you?' and she said, 'I'm in Calgary, Canada, where are you?' and he said, "I'm in Arkansas,'" Farmer recounted.
The 45-kilogram dog is to fly home to his loved ones on United Airlines in a specially designed crate.
Local TV stations are going to be there, says Farmer, adding the dog also has a date with the veterinarian.
"He has unfortunately some unhappy news. He's going to get neutered when he gets home," Farmer said, laughing.
"I have no doubt that he was out looking for a girlfriend and my worst fear is that he's left a wake of puppies behind him in Oregon and Canada."