Youngsville, N.C. — A Youngsville family reunited this week with the dog they thought they lost forever.
After four years, Brandy Metcalf, her husband Dave and their three children got to take Cassey, the dog they had rescued from the SPCA 11 years ago, home again.
"It was a beautiful experience. You're just in shock. You feel like this couldn't be the miracle that you want it to be, that it's too good to be true," Metcalf said.
The couple had just had a third child when Metcalf's sister asked if Cassey could come stay with her in Charlotte.
"At that time, when you have a newborn in the house, things were crowded," she said. "My sister lived alone in Charlotte ... she doesn't like to be by herself and they had a good relationship, so with hesitation, we let (Cassey) go."
After a couple months, the family went to visit their beloved pet. But Cassey, startled by some nearby construction noise, had run away.
"She's a very sensitive dog. Loud noises, construction, if anything like that is going on, she gets nervous," Metcalf said. "She got away from my sister."
Months passed with no sign of the dog, and the family gave up on trying to find it.
"We gave up hope a long time ago, but every day she was mentioned in our house," Metcalf said. "My daughter just said two days prior to (finding the dog) that 'I wish we had our Cassey back.'"
Then, last week, the family got a call that Cassey had been found. Without a collar or tags, the people who found Cassey relied on a microchip to track down the owners.
"They had been searching for us for a couple of days and got our information through the vet's clinic hospital," Metcalf said. "Unfortunately, the information was incorrect because it was from 11 years ago. That's why updating these chips is a must."
The people who found Cassey didn't give up. They eventually tracked down Metcalf's mother, who called to relay the news.
"My husband was telling me, 'Brandy, they found Cassey,' and I said, 'That just can't be,'" We need to leave right now to see if that's really her," she said.
They drove three hours to confirm the good news and came home with the dog they had never stopped missing.
"When we got out of the car and called her name, and she came running up to us, it let us know for sure that yes, she remembered us," Metcalf said. "She came right up and jumped in the van. She was ready to go home."
Jacob Metcalf, 8, was only 4 when Cassey went missing, but said he had no trouble recognizing the dog.
"I was amazed," he said. "She really loved me when I was a bit younger. She used to round us up in the yard."
It was an emotional reunion, and the family was immediately reminded of Cassey's "caring charisma."
"(The tears) were rolling like waterfalls," Metcalf said. "There is never such a thing as 'It's just a dog.' She, to us, is our first-born child."