After spending three years apart from their loyal service dog Lola, Debra and Steven Mejeur are probably wishing dogs could talk. Lola likely spent all three years alone in the woods, so it’s hard not to wonder how she survived all that time.
When Lola first got lost, the Mejeurs searched weekend after weekend. But eventually, they accepted that the beloved black Lab mix probably hadn’t survived. Three years later, they were overjoyed to find out their assumptions of Lola’s death were incorrect. Lola was more alive than ever!
As Debra’s service dog for her epilepsy, Lola has always been known for her calm demeanor, and running away was very out of character for her. It occurred when the family was visiting their friends in Illinois. They let Lola out in the fenced-in yard, and somehow, she escaped. The couple looked for days, but when they got nowhere with their search, they had no choice but to return to their home in Michigan without Lola.
At home, Debra joined every Illinois lost dog group she could find online. For the first few months, she and Steven also traveled to Illinois every weekend to look for Lola. But every time, they began to feel more hopeless.
“Every time we left Chicago to come back to Michigan, I felt like I was abandoning her and leaving her behind,” Debra said.
Eventually, Debra and Steven came to terms with the fact that Lola might never come home. It was a heartbreaking reality, but traveling back and forth was exhausting and didn’t bring them any closer to their lost dog. So, years went on, and Debra eventually adopted a new dog named Maddox for her epilepsy.
Service Dog Back on Duty
Three years after Lola went missing, Debra received an unexpected phone call. It was from the microchip company saying someone found Lola in DuPage County, Illinois, which is about 15 miles from where the service dog went missing. Debra couldn’t contain her excitement.
“I just started crying,” Debra said, “I sat there, I just couldn’t stand still, [I was] shaking so much. I was pacing back and forth. I was like, ‘This is unbelievable.’”
As it turns out, a kind family in Illinois cared for Lola for a long time. They first saw her in their yard over a year ago, so they fed her, hoping to gain her trust. It took them a year of interacting with her before she finally trusted them enough to let them put a leash on her. Then, they brought her to DuPage County Animal Services. It’s likely Lola lived alone in the woods all that time.
Now, Lola is back home and loving life. Debra said Lola has her same lovable personality and remembers most of her old commands. She’s even been getting along with Maddox. So far, she seems physically healthy besides losing ten pounds. She’s showing no signs of pain or trauma either.
This is exactly the kind of feel-good story we need during difficult times. It also reminds dog parents that they should always microchip their dogs. If it weren’t for Lola’s microchip, she might’ve never made it home again. But her family sure is happy she did!
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