COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An Italian greyhound that spent eight months on the lam has been returned to his southwestern Illinois home after turning up more than 900 miles away in Virginia.

Five-year-old purebred Dauz went missing from the Dausman family’s fenced Collinsville yard in July last year, only to turn up last month at an animal shelter in Fairfax, Va., Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis reported.

“He’s the same dog, but he won’t let us out of his sight. As we will not, either,” said Alicia Dausman, the 35-year-old married matriarch of the family that includes children ages 6 and 3 years old and three other dogs, all of which has previously strayed from home.

Dausman suspects that Dauz was stolen by a friend’s family member who temporarily was living with them, and the dog somehow escaped. The mother said she tried everything she could think of to locate the dog, posting his picture on her Facebook page, submitting weekly Craigslist ads, and contacting shelters and Italian greyhound rescue groups.

Dauz was reunited after the Virginia shelter scanned the digital identification chip implanted in the dog’s neck and notified the family.

“I asked (the animal shelter) `Is he okay? Is he hurt? Is he healthy?”’ Dausman said. “They said he was fine. So I know somebody must have taken care of him. But I just didn’t get how he ended up 900 miles away.”

Dauz is thinner, lighter in color and has a raspier bark than before, Dausman said.

“If there is one lesson to be learned, it’s get your pets microchipped,” she said. “And never give up. Miracles do happen.”

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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