Mystery Dog Over 2000 Miles From Home — Do you Recognize Him?

A lost mystery dog has a champion looking for his family. “He’s been well-cared for,” said Sandy Caracciolo, an ardent rescuer in Chowchilla, California. “This dog is so amazingly sweet, he is breaking my heart.”

The mystery began when Caracciolo’s children walked a block away to the nearby convenience store. Outside the store, a dog approached them. They called home. “Mom, there’s this dog. It’s following us.”

Caracciolo asked three questions: Is it hurt? Is it skinny? Does it have a collar? The answer to the first two questions was no, and the dog did have a collar, but no tags. Caracciolo figured the dog belonged to someone in the nearby apartment complex who had let the dog out. “Leave the dog,” she advised her kids.

They called back. “The dog keeps following us wherever we go.” So Caracciolo brought the dog home. He sat on her front porch for four hours waiting to go inside. When she locked up her dogs (the male dogs are dog aggressive to other dogs), she brought in the stray.

“The dog is neutered. He knows sit and shake, stay, down. He’s really good at stay. Somebody has to be missing this dog. He’s so well-behaved,” said Caracciolo. The dog spent the night on her couch, sleeping with her daughter. They walked around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized him. She posted him on her local Facebook rescue page, Chowtown Furbabies. Nothing.

No one knows the dog or where he came from. Caracciolo does have a bit of a clue about where he came from, though — Evansville, Indiana.

Caracciolo did her detective work. She took him to her vet’s office to be scanned. The dog was chipped, and she called the registry to find his information. Unfortunately, no one had registered the chip. Caracciolo didn’t stop there, though.

She asked the company to check the chip number and see who bought that lot of chips, so she could track his owners that way. The lot of chips that his chip was in had been bought by the Evansville Animal Shelter in Indiana. So Caracciolo called the shelter and told them the story. They couldn’t find the chip number, but they told her that they shared their chips with rescues. They didn’t know which rescue might have used that chip.

Several of the rescues she contacted in the Evansville area are looking to see if that chip is from one of their dogs. But in the meantime, Caracciolo had to take the dog, now named “Indie” for Indiana, to the shelter.

“This dog is breaking my heart,” Caracciolo told Shelter Me. “I put him in the shelter yesterday, which killed me, and we were at the shelter today. We clean the kennels and play with the dogs. I brought him outside, and we decided that because the weather is nice, we’d let him stay in an outside kennel for a few hours to get fresh air. We went to leave, and that dog either jumped the fence or climbed it. He was standing in my car at the window!”

Caracciolo marveled at the sweetness of this dog. “He could have bolted and run away. He got into my car! He was like: Let’s go!” And even when she ran back inside the shelter to get her camera, he stayed in the car. He lay in the backseat, waiting to go home. Taking him back into the shelter broke her heart.

Indie is on a 10-day chip hold, and rescues in Indiana are looking for his identity. Until then, this sweet, housebroken, beautifully behaved dog waits at the Chowchilla Shelter. He will be available for adoption or rescue in ten days. He may not be a handsome purebred, but he truly has a heart of gold. This dog is one in a thousand.

Caracciolo commented, “He was really well cared for. Someone loved him. He knows what a doggie bed is – he went right over and curled up in it. He’s a very mellow dog.”

If you recognize Indie, or are interested in adopting him, please comment on his Facebook post or contact Caracciolo through Chowtown Furbabies Facebook page.

The situation Indie is in could have been avoided had the rescue or the adopter just registered the chip. If you have stories to share about the importance of microchips, please leave comments below.


Pamela Kramer

​Animal lover and rescuer. Lives with 4 cats, 4 dogs, 1 bird, 2 frogs and usually one foster animal (and very understanding husband). Reviews books (especially about animals) and educates children about compassion toward animals. Former household animals include rabbits, rats, and other assorted creatures. Also writes at


  1. Patty says:

    I never could have taken this dog to a kill shelter, nor could I have returned him once he went back to the car…Just no heart I guess

  2. Michele says:

    I’m in the Evansville area. Any update on him?

    1. Pamela Kramer says:

      He did get back to the California family who rescued him a year ago. We still don’t know how he ended up in CA from Evansville!

  3. Jenn Hopkins says:

    Is this dog home now?

  4. Janice says:

    Sandy works at the shelter.

  5. Benjamin Tuckerman says:

    How in God’s name do you take a dog in and then turns into a kill shelter? I could never do that. Not in a million years and I have dogs there other dog aggressive is well. I find a way.

    1. Nilsa G says:

      I have nothing but little ones running around being their loud selves barking at every noise they hear, sometimes being mean then along comes a Big dog pretty much like this boy, same easy going sweetest dog ever and I took her in and could not take her to the shelter. After 30 days of being listed at the shelter as a found dog my family agreed she would stay. I made it work. Shifted everyone around and made her part of my family. Now I can say I have a big dog 🐶 But everyone’s situation is different. It would break my heart if that was me seeing him back in the car. I wouldn’t be able to take him back inside. If i couldn’t care for him forever I would foster him and try my hardest to find him a forever home.

    2. Pamela Kramer says:

      Although the shelter is a kill shelter, Sandy volunteers there. She manages to save most dogs and she would NOT have let Indie come to harm.

      1. Patty says:

        I could never have turned him back again after he made a bee line for the car…Must have broke his heart

    3. Tori says:

      Because it being in the shelter allows the owner to find him!

    4. sandy Caracciolol says:

      Benjamin Tuckerman,
      I am the volunteer at the shelter. I am the one who finds the animals rescue. My personal dogs are very aggressive. I tried to find someone to hold for a few days but no one stepped up. I would also like to point out, my shelter is about 99% save rate. All but 2 dogs last year made it alive, same for the year before that. I have stage 4 brain and lung cancer. One of my dogs weighs 130 pounds, I am to weak to take a chance of having my dog attack and kill another dog. I did find a way to help, i contacted Pamela and she did a story, which in turn found his home. You really shouldn’t judge, especially without knowing all the facts. Why not just be happy there are people that go above and beyond to help? Sheesh

  6. Lisa Blanck says:

    PK – check the thread. Someone thinks it’s her daughter’s dog….

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