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Missing Florida Dog Found in New Hampshire

Cooper was last seen at his Naples home in late May

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cooper, a missing dog from Naples, Florida, has been found in Salem, New Hampshire. (Published Monday, Dec. 8, 2014)

    It's a "home for the holidays" story that will leave you scratching your head.

    Cooper, an American bulldog from Florida that had been missing for six months, turned up in New Hampshire, and thanks to a group of volunteers, is finally catching a ride back home.

    If Cooper could talk, he's sure to have an interesting story, because while no one can explain how he got to Salem, New Hampshire, from his home in Naples, Florida, it is known that on Nov. 30, two Salem residents found him wandering the streets with with no collar and brought him to police.

    "Dispatchers kept him in the office for a few hours thinking he was just a local dog that had run off," said Salem Animal Control Officer Corie Bliss.

    But no one came looking for him. On Monday, Officer Bliss met Cooper for the first time.

    "I scanned him and found a microchip," Bliss said.

    That, she says, was his ticket home. The microchip contained all his owners information. Her name is Julie Shields from Florida and she got one unexpected call from New Hampshire.

    "She said, 'My dog is where?'" Bliss said, chucking.

    It turns out Cooper had escaped the family's fenced-in yard back in June. Their missing flyers and calls to area shelters went unanswered, until now.

    "They're just in shock," Bliss said.

    Cooper is in good shape, which indicates to Bliss that someone may have been caring for him over the past six months. She says we might never know how Cooper traveled more than 1,500 miles, but she says she's glad he ended up here.

    "I do know that he has a family far away that misses him and has been missing him and are very excited to have him home for the holidays," Bliss said.

    The Shields are sending Cooper a care package with a new collar and special treats for his trip home. Cooper will get a ride to Naples by the end of the week thanks to Kindred Hearts Transport, a volunteer organization with a mission to reunite lost pets with their families.

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