Shannon Ireland-Gordy ignored the first couple of phone calls she received that had a 505 area code, assuming they were spam.
But after repeated calls over a number of days, Ireland-Gordy, now living in Texas, finally picked up.
The caller identified herself as a staff member with the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter, and she wanted to know if Ireland-Gordy was missing a dog.
“I looked around and saw my four dogs running around and said, ‘Well, no.’” Ireland-Gordy said Thursday in an interview with The Durango Herald.
The caller informed Ireland-Gordy that the shelter was in possession of a dog that was registered to her, and Ireland-Gordy again thought someone was trying to scam her.
“It had never dawned on me ... it could be Kye,” Ireland-Gordy said.
Kye and Ireland-Gordy were reunited Sunday, three years after Kye went missing from a Colorado ranch about 300 miles north of Farmington.
Ireland-Gordy adopted Kye 13 years ago when she lived in Appalachia. She was drawn to Kye because she was the only puppy to survive from a litter.
“She was a survivor from the beginning,” Ireland-Gordy said.
Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, the Australian Shepherd-mix was used to roaming on open land by herself. So when Kye didn’t come home one night while staying at a ranch with a friend in Colorado, she didn’t initially think much of it. However, as days went by, with no sign of Kye, Ireland-Gordy grew worried. Kye never came back, and Ireland-Gordy assumed she had been killed by wild animals.
But Kye wandered into someone’s yard last March in Farmington. A Farmington resident cared for the dog for several months before calling animal control. Animal control picked up the dog and dropped her off at the animal shelter.
As is standard with all pets taken to the shelter, a staff member scanned Kye for a microchip, a small chip the size of a grain of rice implanted into animals to help with identification, and learned the dog was registered to Ireland-Gordy and was marked deceased.
Once Ireland-Gordy answered the shelter’s calls and realized the dog she had already grieved was alive, she enlisted a friend to make the 18-hour drive from Houston to pick up Kye.
Kye was at the shelter for less than a week. To get her ready for the reunion, the shelter had her groomed at a local grooming shop.
“She looked gorgeous,” said Stacie Voss, the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter animal welfare director. “We’re super excited that we were able to play a small part in this reunion.”
Upon reuniting with her owner, Ireland-Gordy said Kye was a little apprehensive. However, once Ireland-Gordy whistled the way she had when Kye was a puppy, Kye quickly became comfortable. Kye was also reunited with Mason, a dog she had grown up with.
“Mason, the Siberian husky who she was raised with, immediately knew who she was,” Ireland-Gordy said.
Kye has been with her family since Sunday, and Ireland-Gordy said she is still in shock. Besides Mason, Ireland-Gordy has three other dogs, all of whom she adopted after Kye was lost.
“It’s kind of like your kid gets kidnapped and shows up years later after you’ve had triplets,” Ireland-Gordy said laughing.
At the same time, Ireland-Gordy said it feels like Kye never left. They’ve already fallen into old habits.
“I wish she could tell me about her adventure. But, I’m so glad to have her home,” Ireland-Gordy said.