When Diane Cosentini agreed to foster Jack, a rat terrier from Monterey, she couldn't even imagine what troubles he had faced.
"All we knew was that he was in a shelter and had been attacked by some wild animal," Cosentini said.
But those struggles came to a happy ending when he was reunited with his Monterey County family Wednesday evening in Lodi.
"I've missed him so much," said owner Pat Thommarson, of San Miguel with tears in her eyes. "He was probably saying to himself, 'I wonder what happened to those people who once took care of me.'"
On June 28, when Catherine Lambert, California state coordinator for Ratbone Rescues, pulled a dog from the Monterey County Animal Shelter, she had no idea the dog had been thought dead for two weeks. Lambert stays in touch with shelters across the state to rescue rat terriers.
After pulling Jack from the Monterey shelter, she arranged with Cosentini to provide foster care for the dog. Cosentini is regular foster volunteer.
"I have a hairy house. Sometimes I have three," Cosentini said about being a foster parent. Shortly after receiving Jack, she posted a profile of him on Ratbone Rescues' Web site in preparation for finding him a permanent home.
Pat Thommarson, after hearing her dog may have been rescued by an emergency clinic in Salinas, was searching online and found Jack's profile and story.
It took a few days, but eventually she was able to contact Cosentini, and they arranged for the Thommarsons to pick Jack up Wednesday evening at his foster home.
It was a welcome relief for Pat and her husband Wendell Thommarson, who had at one point been mourning the death of their pet after they were told by a local animal shelter Jack had been euthanized.
Jack's story began on June 15, when he was found by firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, just a short distance from his home in Lockewood.
He didn't have any form of identification and was far from the Thommarson's new home, because his family had moved to San Miguel during his absence.
The cuts and gouges across his body led firefighters to believe he had been attacked by a wild animal.
After making him scrambled eggs, they took Jack from the station to the Monterey County Animal Shelter, where he was treated for multiple wounds, Pat Thommarson said.
Firefighters were dispatched to the Indian Fire shortly after dropping Jack off and were not able to follow up with information about where the dog was found and who he may have belonged to.
When the Thommarsons came home, they found one of three dogs missing and another slightly injured.
They put fliers up around town, but after about a week they hadn't heard anything in response.
So the couple went to the shelter as a last resort.
"We just assumed he had been lost because we had gotten no calls. We just figured he was gone," Pat Thommarson said earlier this week.
After giving the shelter a description of Jack, she was told there had never been a dog like that at the shelter before and dogs not claimed were euthanized after three days.
"I was just dumbfounded that the county only kept them for three days, and they wouldn't even go back and look for him," Pat Thommarson said.
But she didn't give up and asked a week later again, only to be told her dog had been euthanized.
The Thommarsons began mourning the loss of their pet, but during a trip to Utah, Pat Thommarson didn't let the possibility of Jack's survival leave her mind.
"That week I could not get Jack off my mind," Pat Thommarson said. "Then I thought 'I've got to (call).'"
After more calls, she was told her dog was alive and well, and living with Cosentini in Lodi.
Pat Thommarson was overwhelmed with joy he was safe but hurt after hearing how much pain he had been in.
"I'm devastated that he went through this, but delighted he survived," Pat Thommarson said. "We've missed him so much."
Contact Natalie Flynn at email@example.com.