Owner Gary Rowley greets Brindle.
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WUSA) --- Man and dog reunite for the first time in a decade.
Gary Rowley greeted his Boxer-lab mix "Brindle" Sunday morning, Nov. 1, 2009, with a smile and a leash. Brindle was found in Oklahoma in September.
"His coloring hasn't changed except his gray snout. [It] used to be black. But my god! I didn't realize he was so thin! He's definitely taller!"
Rowley says Brindle will visit a veterinarian shortly to diagnose and treat several medical issues: heartworms, broken teeth, and a dislocated hip.
Rowley recalls Brindle as being a smart, mild-mannered dog. However, the dog also had a tendency to escape through the house door in Dale City. The owner says Brindle would disappear before animal control found him. In Feb. 1999, Rowley says Brindle managed to escape again and was gone for good.
Ten years later, a reunion takes place because of the actions of caring strangers.
In September, a family in Oklahoma found Brindle under a bush. Amy Rohde and her family nursed the dog back to health. The vet found a pet microchip implanted in Brindle's neck, and the microchip indicated the dog belonged to Rowley.
Rowley says he felt the hair on his neck stand up after learning his dog had been found.
He was also amazed at the kindness of strangers like animal rescue volunteer Lori Swain of Alexandria, Va. Swain got word of Brindle's story through an e-mail from Val Garcia, a cat rescue volunteer. Swain says Garcia helped with a feral cat problem.
"I wanted to give back. There's things I can't do, but this was something I could do," says Swain.
She volunteered to drive the dog from Oklahoma back to Rowley's house in Virginia. Swain paid for the trip. She also says two hotels offered her free lodging after learning about her mission.
Rowley gives Brindle an old favorite treat: peanut butter on a dog bone. The owner can't imagine what the dog has been up to for all these years.
"I mean if [Brindle] could talk, I'm sure he could tell us some stories!" says Rowley.
A dog owner for many years, Rowley currently lives with another lab-mix named Chelsea.
Written by Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.com