Lost Riverside Pomeranian found in...Canada?

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A stray dog, a lost-pet flier, a cruise vacation, a thoughtful construction worker, a very kind rescue group organization and a tiny dog's return from Vancouver: all these moving parts added up to a strange, but happy reunion.

The reunion between a Pomeranian and his owners happened Tuesday afternoon at about 1:30 p.m. at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus. Brownie Bear the Pomeranian went missing on Aug. 22, right before the owners were heading away on a cruise vacation.


The owners frantically placed fliers all over and one of those fliers was seen by a construction worker. That same worker remembered seeing the tiny dog near the construction site (29061 Newport Road in Menifee) where he and his colleagues have been working on a project. (An animal control officer with Animal Friends of the Valley's had already scooped up the dog and transported him to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus. All Menifee stray pets are transported to Riverside County's shelter in San Jacinto.)

The conscientious construction worker called Brownie Bear's owner, Brian Van Sant, and informed the distraught pet owner that he should contact the local animal shelter. But by then, Brownie Bear's hold period at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus had already expired. Brownie Bear, whose age was estimated to be about 5 (but he is older than that), was not microchipped, unfortunately.

A microchip extends a pet's hold time - and, of course, makes pet reunions easier and more likely if the chip's information is current. On Sept. 1, Big And Small Rescue Society, based out of Vancouver, gobbled up the sweet dog - and off the dog traveled up north with other rescued pets from Southern California. But then, on Sept. 2, Candy Weil, a Riverside County Animal Services employee at the San Jacinto shelter, received a call from Mr. Van Sant. He told Ms. Weil the dog had been a family pet since its birth.

But she had to give him the news that the dog was already gone. Mr. Van Sant pleaded with Ms. Weil to see if there was any way the dog could be returned. Ms. Weil did not promise anything, but said she would do everything she could.

Thanks to some very understanding folks at Big And Small Rescue Society, Brownie Bear, whose name actually got changed to "Tomato" by the nonprofit organization, a reunion was made possible. Big And Small Rescue Society returned to the San Jacinto Animal Valley Animal Campus on Monday.

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