German shepherd makes trip from Maine to NC to reunite with family

Chisum, a 9-year-old German shepherd pictured here with Coastal Humane Society staffer Allie Athearn, was relinquished in April in Florida after his owners moved. He will be reunited with them Saturday in Virginia thanks to the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick.
Courtesy of Coastal Humane Society
Chisum, a 9-year-old German shepherd pictured here with Coastal Humane Society staffer Allie Athearn, was relinquished in April in Florida after his owners moved. He will be reunited with them Saturday in Virginia thanks to the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick.
Posted Oct. 06, 2013, at 5:57 a.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — After a six-month odyssey that led him from Florida to Maine, a cuddly German shepherd will be reunited with his original owners Saturday, thanks to the Coastal Humane Society.

Nine-year-old Chisum was surrendered to the Flagler Humane Society in Flagler County, Fla., in April, after his owners, Kathy and Nelson Walden, relocated to North Carolina.

The Waldens had raised Chisum from the time he was a puppy, and he grew up with their husky-wolf hybrid, Misha. But the family lived in an RV for awhile after moving to North Carolina, and the park wouldn’t accept such a large dog.

Ultimately the Waldens decided to leave Chisum in Florida — where the warmer weather might ease his arthritis. They worked with Flagler Humane Society to secure a new home for him.

But Kathy Walden said Friday that she regretted the decision immediately.

“It’s been a very agonizing six months,” she said.

Walden kept in touch with the Flagler Humane Society, where staff assured her the man who adopted Chisum was enjoying his new companion.

The man has a medical condition, Walden said, adding, “I said that as long as the dog is being therapeutic and helping him, I’m thanking Jesus.”

But when his new family traveled to Maine this summer, and the health of his new owner declined, Chisum was surrendered to the Coastal Humane Society.

When he arrived at the Brunswick shelter, staff discovered a microchip that showed he’d been at the Flagler Humane Society. They then found a note in Chisum’s file with Walden’s phone number and called the family.

Having since bought a new house, the Waldens are ready and thrilled to welcome Chisum home.

“I feel like the good lord intervened,” Kathy Walden said by phone Friday. “It’s almost too good to be true. We’re so tickled that we can hardly wait to get him tomorrow.”

Humane society volunteer Kristin Comee offered to drive the dog to Virginia and return him to the Waldens.

On Saturday, Chisum will reunite with the family, who will drive four hours from West Jefferson, N.C., to meet Comee. Walden said she hopes Chisum will recognize the family — and his long-lost playmate, Misha.

“We want people to know how wonderful the people are in Maine,” she said Friday. “I was at a place this morning telling somebody the story, and they told me that they love Maine and visit Maine all the time, and that the people are wonderful. I said, ‘They sure are.’”

To follow Chisum’s story, visit the Coastal Humane Society’s Facebook page.

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