Dog walks 500 miles to reunite with owner

Hollywood doesn’t always get it right, but the story of Mark Wessells and his 3-year-old black Labrador Retriever Bucky is a real life version of the classic film Homeward Bound.

Bucky walked 500 miles from Winchester, Va., to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Wessells always knew that he had a strong connection with Bucky. “Dogs are loyal and he’s just really smart,” Wessells told WPDE Carolina Live of Bucky. “He knows, I can have a conversation with him and he’ll talk back.”

But he didn’t know how unbreakable their bond was — until Bucky decided to remind him.

When Wessells had to move from Winchester, Va., to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in January, he learned that his new home did not allow dogs. Heartbroken, Wessells decided that, at least temporarily, he had to leave his best buddy with his father.

“I wanted him to be up in Virginia where my dad has all this other property and he would’ve been happy,” Wessells explained.

But Bucky wasn’t content to be away from his best friend. Soon after Wessells left for Myrtle Beach, Bucky disappeared. The Labrador was nowhere to be found.

“We thought somebody stole him because that was the only thing we could think of,” Wessells told The State. “For the longest time, my dad and brother had been keeping an eye out for him, but never saw him.”

Weeks went by without any sign of Bucky. Then weeks turned into months. Wessells began to lose hope that he would ever see Bucky again.

But two weeks ago, Brett Gallagher found a spunky black Lab running around his Myrtle Beach subdivision. Because he’d found the dog at 2:00 a.m., Gallagher decided to call the Lab “Deuce.”

When Gallagher took “Deuce” to the Grand Strand Animal Hospital for a checkup, a quick scan of the dog’s microchip revealed that the mystery Labrador was in fact Bucky.

“The nurse came back and said, ‘Are you Buck?’ and he got so excited,” Gallagher explained. “It must have been the first time he heard his name since he left.”

That’s when Mark Wessells got the call that he’d been waiting for. Bucky had been found — but not in Virginia. Using an uncanny sense of smell, Bucky had followed his owner’s scent all the way to Myrtle Beach. That’s a trip of nearly 500 miles.

Wessells hurried to the animal hospital, where he was finally reunited with Bucky.

“I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t. He definitely recognized me instantly,” Wessells said.

“It’s just crazy he made it down here on his own. You know it’s like Homeward Bound is what I’m thinking,” Wessells added.

Sources: WPDE Carolina Live, TheState.com