It was like a holiday miracle for Debra Mejeur.
Last week, the Michigan resident received a call from an Illinois animal shelter informing her they had located her black Labrador retriever named Lola. It was pleasant, and fairly shocking surprise, as Mejeur had lost the service dog years ago during a family trip to the suburbs of Chicago.
The Guardian reports Lola—a trained seizure alert dog—went missing in October 2017, after she apparently escaped from a fenced area in Elk Grove Village. Mejeur and her husband, Steve, would make regular trips back to Illinois in the hopes of finding their pet. They reportedly put up "lost" signs, called on the locals for assistance, and even hired a professional pet searcher; however, the three-hour drives across state lines eventually took a mental and financial toll on the couple, and the trips became less and less frequent.
Mejeur told the publication she had some hope that Lola might return one day, but there was a larger part of her that believed a reunion was highly unlikely. That is, until the DuPage County Animal Services contacted her last Thursday to confirm Lola had been found.
"I still had an ounce of hope, I guess, but the majority of me was thinking she had already crossed the rainbow bridge," she told the outlet. "I was just completely stunned ... I feel like I’m in a dream right now."
The Guardian reports a couple in Glendale Heights had spotted Lola in the woods and provided the dog with food and water before taking it to the animal shelter. The organization said it was able to locate Lola's owners by using her microchip. Mejeur and Steve traveled to Illinois just days later for the special reunion.
According to MLive, Lola was in good health when she was found, but had lost 10 pounds since she was last with Mejeur. The outlet reports the family will no longer use Lola as a service dog, as they "plan to spoil her from here on out."
"I wish she could talk because I would probably give her a little lecture, too," Mejeur said. "'You’re not suppose to run away. Don’t do it again.'"