If Mickey could talk — boy, what a story he might tell about his last four years roaming the states of the Midwest.
But Mickey is a Boston terrier, so you'll just have to imagine what it was like for him traveling at least 1,100 miles before he was finally reunited with his family last week.
What we do know is that Mickey left the Jarosz family's backyard in suburban Kansas City, on his own or with help, in 2003. Last week, an older and grayer Mickey was reunited with the family thanks to the help of a microchip implanted in the dog and a veterinarian in Billings, Mont., who took an interest in learning where he came from.
“It wasn't like him to wander off, but if someone came up to him, he was friendly and he would have gone up to him,” Cher Jarosz said during a live appearance Tuesday on TODAY with Mickey and other family members.
The family assumed Mickey was stolen, and gave up looking for him after awhile. But they never forgot about him, even after the family moved to a nearby city.
Lost and found
Fast forward four years to March 28, 2007. Cher Jarosz's daughter, Kari Mitchell, received a telephone call from a friend and former co-worker at a veterinary clinic who implanted the microchip above Mickey's shoulder blade.
“She said, ‘You are never going to believe this. You need to pull over if you are driving. We found Mickey,’ ” Mitchell said.
The friend explained that a veterinarian in Billings had traced the microchip back to Missouri and the Jarosz family after a woman, who had found Mickey roaming the streets, dropped him off at an animal shelter there.
It took almost a week for the family to prove that Mickey belonged in Missouri, but he was finally returned April 3, no worse for the wear. His black and white coat is more gray now, and his teeth are worn down, but Mickey seems to be assimilating well.
As for where he has been, and what he has seen and done all that time away, only Mickey knows.
“So you will probably never find out then what happened to Mickey?” TODAY host Meredith Vieira asked.
“No clue ... No one's come forward,” Cher Jarosz said.
— By John Springer, TODAYshow.com contributor