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Family shocked to discover missing peekapoo Duchess was alive

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – A family pet is back home after a big adventure that lasted five months, though she was only a few blocks away the whole time.

"I would have never thought five months later, I'd get a call that Duchess is still alive," said her owner, Greg Hoffman.

The Hoffman family has been overcome with emotion this week by their reunion with Duchess, calling it a “happy” moment and saying “it’s pretty amazing.”

"We see her and we're just like, I can't believe you're right here,” said Ruenette Hoffman.

Greg and Ruenette got Duchess as a puppy eight years ago.


But she disappeared just before Thanksgiving, right as cold weather settled in for the season.

The peekapoo disappeared out of the back yard.

"We looked and looked all night,” said Greg.

Greg and Ruenette braced their three children for the worst as day by day there were no sightings, no word on Duchess.

"To me it was over after a couple of weeks because it had got cold right as she got out,” but the search continued.

The search went into weeks and Reunette turned to social media.

"It was shared over and I mean over and over, and we did that for some weeks, posted pics around town,” Ruenette said.

The family lost hope.

Happy family

What the Hoffman's didn't know is Duchess was safe inside another home.

Then on Tuesday Ruenette gets a call from Colonial Heights Animal Control.

"She said Rue, I think I have your dog and I was like, ‘my dog?’”

"Come to find out, she was only a block over the whole time, a block, block and a half over the whole time,” said Greg.

With no collar on, Duchess was taken in by an elderly person.

"I think someone needed a friend and they picked her up,” Ruenette.

When the elderly person had to move Duchess was spotted on the street.

A neighbor saw Duchess and called animal control and came and picked her up.

After the call, Duchess was home, 45 minutes later.

"Honestly even though it was heartache at the time, I'm forever grateful today,” Ruenette said.

When Duchess got away, she did not have a collar.

But she has one now.

The person who took her in, put a pink collar on her and the Hoffmans plan to leave it on as a reminder of someone who took in Duchess and kept her safe.

Now they are working to have microchips placed in both their dogs and put tags on both, just in case.