When staff members at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) began the process of taking in a Beagle last week, it seemed like the process would be pretty standard. But then they scanned for a microchip, and what they found was a surprise to them all.
Stephen, the 4-year-old Beagle dropped off as a stray at HSSA, was fitted with a microchip implanted at the Okinawa Veterinary Treatment Facility in Okinawa, Japan, a world away from the shelter’s facility in Tuscon, Arizona. The only information they had on the owner dated back to 2010, when the man was stationed at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.
The staff was baffled – how would they find the Stephen’s owner? Was it possible that the serviceman was still stationed in Japan?
HSSA staff members searched high and low for Stephen’s owner, even contacting the Davis Monahan Air Force Base with no luck.
HSSA spokesperson Lyndsay Bruno turned to the press in an attempt to locate the Beagle’s owner. On March 30, a notice was posted in The Voice of Tucson and The Tucson Sentinel, two local media sources, asking for any available information about Stephen’s mysterious owner.
“It is our hope that putting out information will reunite Stephen with his owner — especially given the circumstances,” Bruno said in the announcement.
Lo and behold, the press release worked. Stephen’s owner, National Guardsman and current Arizona State University student Joseph Stremlau, contacted the HSSA, relieved that his best friend Stephen had been found. Stephen had gotten loose while he was staying with Stremlau’s brother in Tucson.
“When friends and family said they saw him on the news, I couldn’t believe it,” Stremlau told the press. “I went to great lengths to bring him back from Japan, many people don’t do that.”
“It’s a good lesson about keeping microchip information up to date,” Bruno added.
After their separation, Stremlau and Stephen have some serious rest and relaxation planned. “I think we will go home and watch Netflix all day,” Stremlau said with a smile.