An emerging trend we can emphatically get behind is food companies putting images of shelter dogs on their packaging, including pizza boxes and beer cans. On January 19, Motorworks Brewing became the latest microbrewer to slap photos of adorable doggos seeking forever home on cans, releasing a limited edition Adoptable Dog Cruiser Kölsch 4-pack. The promo image ended up going somewhat viral and was picked up by major media platforms such as CNN, Good Morning America, and The Ellen Show.
The story was soon plastered on millions of Facebook feeds, including that of Monica Mathis, a Minnesota woman living more than 1,500 miles from the small brewery in Bradenton, Florida. Mathis clicked on the post not for the obvious “awww!” factor, but because one of the dogs featured look suspiciously like her old dog Hazel, who ran away in 2017.
At the time of Hazel’s great escape, Mathis was living in Iowa. Weeks of searching were fruitless, and when Mathis moved back to her home state of Minnesota one month after her dog’s disappearance, she resigned herself to the idea that she would never see Hazel again.
Somehow, Hazel ended up Manatee County Animal Services in Palmetto, Florida, in March of 2019. Hans Wohlgefahrt, the shelter’s outreach and events specialist, said attempts to locate her owner were unsuccessful, as the information found on her license and microchip were outdated and Mathis had changed her last name after a divorce.
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“We would have never thought to go as far as Minnesota as a possible match,” Wohlgefahrt told the Tampa Bay Times. “We were sort of at a dead end.”
Fortunately, Mathis had held on to Hazel’s veterinary records, and, like all dog owners, had taken a substantial number of photographs, all of which proved that the dog now known as Day Day was actually Hazel Mathis. After receiving a clean bill of health from the shelter’s vets, Hazel will begin the journey back to her mom in the next few weeks, with local nonprofit Friends of Manatee County Animal Services paying her way up to Minnesota. When she arrives, she’s already got a job lined up: Mathis, a certified nursing assistant, plans to train Hazel to be a pet therapy dog at the hospital where she works.
“I’m so excited that she’s coming home,” she said to the Times. “I’m so happy that I get my family back.”