"It took a moment for me to realize it was Trooper, but I had a feeling it was. I started petting him and he seemed familiar, and then I noticed his eye, which he hurt in an accident, and I can't tell you how good I felt," said Kim Zwack. "It was just an awesome feeling. I really can't put it into words."
When she knew for sure it was Trooper, she immediately called Longton, who had guests and didn't answer the first phone call, nearly didn't answer the second, figured if she was calling twice in such a short time, it must be something important.
"She said 'Trooper is here' and I honestly couldn't believe it," he said. "So we hopped in the truck and raced over and sure enough, here's Trooper."
When Longton and Samantha walked into the store, they spotted the dog and called his name.
Trooper just started "going nuts," Longton said.
"I'm just really, really excited to have him back," Samantha said while stroking Trooper's back.
Trooper, no worse for wear, though now neutered as per Peppertree policy, seemed hyped-up. On occasion, he jumped straight up in the air, his snout more than 5 feet off the ground, and spun around 360 degrees " a German sheperd pirouette.
Sommers said the way Trooper's story, and happy ending, unfolded is a first since she co-founded the organization in 1999, but added it probably will not be the last time an owner makes an honest effort to find their wandering dog and can't. A change in policy at the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society increased the cost to municipalities to house dogs, so many towns look for other options for strays.
By state law, municipalities have to pick up stray dogs, designate a place to take them and care for them and pay that place to do it.