CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- An Albuquerque man is thanking some big hearts in Georgia for finding his missing dog - over 1,200 miles away.
It all started when Annette Hatt was waiting to be let in at the Allatoona Landing Marina on Saturday. She said that she noticed a small dog running up to different people.
Annette soon found out from the front desk that the small dog had been in the area for weeks and no one was there to claim him.
"I love animals," she said. "I've actually done fostering a couple of times. Most of the pets I've had have been strays or people getting rid of their animals."
So when she was unsuccessful finding the owner there, she decided to take the little guy home to continue the search.
"I said, 'I can't allow this dog to sit here by itself'," she said.
However, with a dog of her own, she knew she wouldn't be able to keep him. So she posted to the "Furry Friends Lost and Found in Cherokee County, Ga." Facebook page for missing pets in the area.
That's where she also began speaking with Kathy Lee Russell who agreed to board the pup and bring him to an area vet. Kathy said she was happy to see that Annette took the time to look check up on the little dog.
"She went above and beyond last night and realized this is not good," she said. "There's coyotes, there's snakes - so she took him and reached out for help on our community page."
What the two would later learn would be a complete shock to them both.
Veterinarians at Animal Hospital of Towne Lake confirmed that he was healthy and then, after scanning for a microchip, also confirmed that he was from the other side of the country.
The number attached to the chip rang through to Manny Ornelas who had no idea that that Georgia number would lead to Pumpkin, his 7-year-old Lhasa Apso who he hadn't seen since November.
Manny said he had been searching for months to find his little pup after it was stolen from his yard in late November. Weeks turned to months and he began to lose hope.
Manny told 11Alive that when he saw the number and began speaking with the vet, he was shocked to find out that Pumpkin had ended up on the East Coast safe and sound.
"I was freaking out," he said. "I was like, what?"
Manny said he was still in disbelief that his dog was over 24 hours away.
It's a story that is already close to a sweet ending, but what happened next was perhaps the most touching of all. As questions of how Pumpkin would return to New Mexico began to mount, so too did possible solutions on the missing pet Facebook page. Since Pumpkin's owner was discovered, many in the group have begun calling in favors to flight attendants and pilots in their own families trying to find someone who can get Pumpkin home.
If all else fails, the owner has already started a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses for his cross country trip.
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