Pitbull reunites with family after missing from Lee County home for 8 years

Published: July 5, 2022 6:22 PM EDT
Updated: July 6, 2022 5:28 AM EDT

A family has reunited with their dog eight years after he disappeared from their backyard.

Harley was found extremely malnourished over the weekend in San Carlos Park.

Harley’s family moved to Missouri and never got another dog. They gave up on thinking they’d ever see Harley again.

But Harley’s microchip made the reunion possible.

“I just want to tell him I’m so sorry that I didn’t find him,” said Betsy DeHaan.

Harley left for his adventure in February of 2014.

“I turned them out to go to the bathroom,” DeHaan said. “Turned my back for a second and they went off into the woods. And we went looking and never found Harley.”

Harley the pitbull was found after leaving his family in Lee County eight years ago. (CREDIT: WINK News)

At just a few years old, Harley vanished from his Lee County home.

“We searched and cruised and looked and put up posters and sent out the wanted, missing pet and just never stopped looking for him,” DeHaan said.

The search went cold despite Harley being microchipped. Whoever took Harley in, never checked the microchip to find his owner.

Fast-forward to the present day.

“I didn’t realize how bad it was until I actually got the dog,” said Angie Bray, who helped find the dog.

A miracle kept the story alive.

“The dog was so sweet, super well-behaved. Seemed as happy as can be aside from being really skinny. He had some really overgrown nails,” Bray said.

Bray and her friend found a dog that looked like Harley wandering along Barto Boulevard in San Carlos Park eight years after he ran off.

“It made me cry. It was just so heartbreaking to think about being torn away from one of my animals who I just love and then being able to find them.”

Harley the pitbull was found after leaving his family in Lee County eight years ago. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Bray took Harley to Cypress Lake Animal Hospital and Lee County Domestic Animal Services and through the microchip, DeHaan was found.

“We got the text on Saturday. And I’m like, is this a scam? Because we were talking about him that morning. You know, what an amazing dog and where could Harley be, is he’s still out there? And I got the text. And you know, you think Google always picks up on your advertisement? I’m like, this is a scam,” DeHaan said. “This is not real.”

DeHaan no longer lives in Lee County but when she found out Harley was safe she drove 1,100 miles all the way from Missouri to Lee County to reunite with her beloved dog.

Harley the pitbull was found after leaving his family in Lee County eight years ago. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“Oh my God! Harley! Hi buddy! Oh my God,” she said when she saw him.

DeHaan said Harley looks a lot smaller now compared to eight years ago because of how skinny he is.

But she said, he’ll never go hungry again.