August 4, 2013 our sweet Harley didn't come home after being out with the neighbors.
{original story here.}
You were all so sweet and prayed with me, and sent me encouraging emails, 
some of you even helped search for him with me.
 I could not wrap my head around him being gone.
We were all heartbroken.
I remember searching for days, weeks, and then months.
Our local paper ran a story on Harley.
I plastered the city with literally hundreds of fliers.
I got leads, but nothing solid.
But, I never gave up.
 The photo below was taken on Sunday night right after we were reunited, almost 9 months later.
He was scared, full of fleas, and very skinny, and here is how it all happened……
I was working on our kitchen for the One Room Challenge with my husband and got a text from number I didn't recognize. 
It simply said, 
"Is Harley still missing?"

I immediately responded with a YES and asked if they had a lead.

Over the months I have got so many texts with false leads that 
I learned to not get my hopes up too much, so at this point, I wasn't too hopeful.

A few minutes later he responded and said he bought a dog a while back from an abusive owner. Someone had come up to him a few days prior and told him our story and said the dog looked like Harley, so he looked us up.

His next text was one he must have repeated 100 times,
"Would you still be able to issue a reward?"

I asked him to send me a photo which he did. 
I honestly didn't think it was Harley and told him he had the wrong person, to which he responded,

"I don't think that picture necessarily shows his looks well. He looks exactly like your photos online, and has a black spot on his tongue….."

So I asked him to take him to a vet and have his microchip scanned, which he promptly did. 
{in the meanwhile still asking about reward $}

The next text I got from him was saying he was at the vet and they were scanning the dog and would be calling his owner.

I stared at my phone with the rest of the family, and nothing. 
A minute passed and still nothing.

I texted him back and told him it must not be us because I wasn't getting a call from the vet. 
He told me she had to take another call and was calling the owner now.

My phone rang.

I had chills. The woman on the phone asked if I was Melaine and if I had a microchip number to compare to the one she scanned.

Yes, go ahead.

As she read the numbers one by one I felt like I was going to pass out. 
She read the last number and I lost it.

I couldn't breathe.
I was hysterical, happy, shocked, and I felt like throwing up.
The numbers all matched.
I felt like I had just been read the winning lotto numbers.

My family could tell from my reaction that it was him and now the whole family was in tears.

I asked the vet to hold him and told her that we were on our way.
Unfortunately the guy still had Harley in his possession and he did not want to stay and fled.

Thank goodness she grabbed his license number and a description of him.

I called 911.

I explained that this guy had my dog and how do I get him back…..
I gave them the info I had from the vet and they had a name and address in a matter of seconds. 

After hanging up with the police, my phone rang.
It was the guy.

I answered and so began the saga of the reward money. 
He told me now that I knew it was my dog, would I have the $1000.00?
I asked him if $500 sounded fair and he said no. That when I had the $1000, I would see my dog.

Back to 911.

They offered to go to the guys house and get my dog, or, they said I could go meet him and pay, or not pay him the money. For some reason the encouraged me to go meet him, not alone of course.

I texted him back and told him I had the money and would meet him. This was 2 hours after the first text came in. He chose a parking lot in a business area in a nearby town in front of a Subway restaurant. We were to meet there in one hour.

We left the kids home and brought plenty of backup with us.
We all arrived before him and waited.
Part of me wondered if he would show.
But he was money hungry.

Finally, a car pulled in matching the description of the one the vet gave me.
I ran over and when he opened his door to get out, a skinny Harley jumped out and attacked me, knocking me to the ground and licking my face!

More happy tears!
I immediately put him in my car and waited while the guys talked to this guy.

He changed his story several times.
One version was that he had purchased the dog off craigslist in September.

One story was that he rescued it from a abusive owner.

Another was that he got him from a friend.

Nothing added up, but Harley was in my car!

My husband ended up giving him $700 and told him he could have the other $300 if he could tell us where he purchased him from, if that was the case. 

All of a sudden we were driving away…..
with Harley.
I sat in the back seat with him and loved on him like there was no tomorrow.

Like I said, he was skinny, full of fleas, and was given a new name. 
I so wish he could talk and tell me his story.
I pray he was treated well. That he didn't have to sleep outside on the cold winter nights. 

We brought him home to happy tearful kids and immediately bathed him.
{the black and white photo above} 

He remembered Hunter and was not so excited to see we had a new addition. 
{they are adjusting now}

I had some prescription flea medicine so I gave him that. He wouldn't eat for us but did respond to his name. He sniffed around the house and peed on the dining room chair.

I wasn't sure if he was marking his territory or if the guy had let him go to the bathroom in the house?! 

Luckily, I think it was just him marking his territory, as he hasn't done it since.

We are all adjusting to having 3 big dogs.
I have to say though, our family feels complete.
It is so nice having him home and I can finally stop worrying about where he might be.
We are getting an invisible fence installed next week, but for now, he goes out on leash only.

It's amazing that after almost 9 months how fast he is settling back in. 
He knows us.
He responds to his name.
He is eating again.
He has been checked out by the vet, and other than the fleas, which are now under control, he luckily is very healthy.

I feel blessed, thank you for all your comments on instagram and Facebook. All your emails and to all the people that helped search for him.
I truly think this is a miracle that he is home, safe, happy, and healthy.
Right where he belongs.