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‘Never give up hope’: Lost dog comes home after seven years

TULARE, Calif. – Manuel Vejar’s dog, Champ, ran away while he was serving in the U.S. Navy in 2013. While he admits there were times it was hard to hold onto that dream, Vejar always hoped he’d see Champ again.

Vejar first saw Champ as an 8-week-old puppy. He knew they’d be together the moment he saw Champ.

“I saw him and was like you know what, that’s the one. That’s the one I’m going to get,” he recalls.

Vejar would be deployed that year for two years. When he returned, he’d get six more months with Champ before he ran away — chewing through two fences. For the following two months, he’d continue to look for Champ throughout the area, going off of Facebook messages he’d get.

But soon, the messages slowed, eventually coming to a halt. Until last week.

According to KSEE, Vejar got several calls from an unknown number and an animal control officer came to his door with the news he had waited seven years to hear — Champ has been found alive.

Champ was found on a local farm a month ago and after he gained Champ’s trust, the farmer says he noticed he was hurt. The farmer then took the vet where his microchip was checked and Vejar was called.

To learn more and see the GoFundMe for Champ’s medical expenses, click here.