Runaway Kansas dog found in San Diego

A spunky Jack Russell Terrier mix from Labette County, Kan., is making headlines this week after he ran away and was found more than 1,500 miles from home.

The dog supposedly made the 1,500-mile journey from Kansas to California on foot in two days.

Rascal broke free from the Lewis family’s fenced yard Thanksgiving weekend and hadn’t been seen near his home since — that is, until the canine escape artist turned up in San Diego several days later.

A man from the Kearny Mesa area found Rascal running loose and called the number on the little dog’s identification tags, which belonged to Rascal’s veterinarian.

“It was Tuesday morning. We got a call from our vet saying somebody had called them,” owner Ty Lewis explains. “She gave me the number to call the people and when I called, they were — the number was a number not around here and it wound up the person was in San Diego,” he told KJRH News.

It is not clear how Rascal ended up in California, but the Lewis family could not believe their dog had made the long trip from Oswego, Kan., to Southern California in such a short amount of time.

“He was in Kearny Mesa,” said Nikki Lewis. “We thought it was a scam. How in the world would a dog get from Kansas to California in two days?”

Shocked but elated, Ty and Nikki told their two kids that Rascal was found and would be coming home soon.

But then Rascal lived up to his name again. The California man who had found Rascal called the Lewis family the next day to break some bad news — Rascal had run away from the good Samaritan’s home and was again missing somewhere in the San Diego area.

“And we had just told the kids we got Rascal back,” Nikki said. “They were heartbroken.”

The Lewis family could not help but assume the worst. Rascal wasn’t in Kansas anymore. He was out there somewhere far away in an unfamiliar state; he might as well have been in Oz, and the Lewises had little hope of ever seeing their beloved dog again.

“We had already decided, you know, he’s not coming back,” Nikki explained. But Rascal wasn’t finished surprising his family yet.

Three weeks later, the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services got a call from a person who’d found a little Terrier mix. The Good Samaritan brought the pup to the county shelter, and lo and behold Rascal was alive and finally safe. Staff members at Animal Services excitedly phoned the Lewis family with the happy news — after weeks of waiting and worrying, Rascal would be reunited with his family.

“It’s unbelievable,” Ty Lewis said. “I assumed we’d never see him again. We’re pretty excited here.”

Knowing Rascal’s Houdini-like abilities, the County of San Diego Animal Services agreed to fit Rascal with a microchip. And the Lewises are determined never to let their crafty pup out of their sights again.

“We’ll be keeping him an inside dog; we’re not going to let this happen again,” Ty promised.

According to Ty, this is not the first time Rascal has been on the run; the now 13-month-old pup first became a member of the Lewis family after they’d found him as a wandering stray.

“It’s not uncommon that Rascal likes to break free,” Ty told U-T San Diego.

After a long six weeks without their canine companion, Ty, Nikki, and their children, ages 7 and 9, finally reunited with their best friend Saturday night at the Tulsa International Airport. For the Lewises, the happy reunion couldn’t happen soon enough.

“The kids at Christmas, when we asked them what they wanted, they said, ‘We just want Rascal to be home,” Nikki explained.

Sources: KWCH Eyewitness News 12, U-T San Diego, KJRH News