Woman reunited with stolen dog four years after he vanished

OLIVETTE, MO (KTVI) – For four long years, Barbie Flaugher never gave up hope of finding her four-legged best friend.

Flaugher said she last saw her dog, a Labrador pit mix named Atlas, on January 25, 2013.

“Went out to feed him and he was gone,” she said. “The chain was cut off and the pen open and he was gone.”

Flaugher filed a report with the Overland Police Department but nothing came about with her stolen and lost canine. She received a letter in the mail Thursday from the St. Louis County Health Department.

True to his name, Atlas was found roaming the streets and brought to St. Louis County Animal Care and Control in west county where the reunion was made possible.

“(He) looks good, besides needing a bath and cleaning; looks great,” Flaugher said. “I think he recognized my voice because I called him Ton, like my son. I always called him Ton.”

When Flaughter first adopted Atlas, she chose to chip dog as a puppy. That decision led to Friday’s joyful reunion four years later – or 28 years in Atlas’ head.

“Microchip your pet; it’s very important to do that,” said Charletta Lilly, St. Louis County Animal Care Control. “So if anything such as they get stolen or they run away, they can be scanned by a veterinarian in a shelter and reunited with their parents.”