The Story of Faith the Shih-Tzu


A cool story from the City of Gurdon, Arkansas Animal Shelter and animal control officer Ty Oppelt. They found a dog in Gurdon, 65 miles from Texarkana, that a Texarkana lady lost one and half years ago.

From Gurdon Animal Shelter Facebook Page

This is the story of events that came together to make something really wonderful happen. This morning I was called by a co-workers dad letting me know he had a small dog, possibly a Shih-Tzu in his trap he had set to catch a nuisance opossum. This dog had been running around the area for almost a year and a half and was living in the woods behind their house, coming out to forage for dog or cat food people had out for their pets, or to eat the food scraps that they threw out there whenever they had any. Before being trapped, the dog would not come to anyone and would run into the woods if anyone approached it. When I arrived, I saw what was the worst matted up dog I had ever laid eyes on…and it had growled at the homeowner when he had approached his trap, so we did not know if it was mean or scared, so I carefully got it from the trap to the cage in the back of my truck….and I have to say, the smell coming from this sweet little dog was almost enough to make me want to throw up.

For that reason, the dog was going to ride in the cage instead of riding in the passenger seat of my animal control truck! At this point there was no way to even know if it was a little boy or a little girl. As I was getting ready to take it to the vet, a neighbor from across the street came over to see what we had caught in the trap. She looked at the pitiful sight in the back of my truck and knew there had to be a beautiful furbaby underneath all that matted hair and said she wanted to adopt it when the dog was ready. I told her I really wanted to think of a good name and she suggested ‘Faith’. I thought that would be OK if this is a girl, but not if it wound up being a boy. On the way to the vet I decided that Ziggy Marley would be a good name if a boy, and Marley if it is a girl.

When I got to the vet, they got us right in, and when I picked the dog up to take it inside, I found that despite the matts pulling when I picked it up, this dog never let out a growl or a whimper. Upon examination we found that this was indeed a very sweet little 12.5 pound female Shih-tzu. Dr. Allen checked her out, she was given all of her shots and a drontal plus pill for any intestinal worms she probably had and a heartworm test, which came up negative! I thought out loud that I needed to remember to scan her for a microchip, and the vet pulled a scanner out of a drawer and proceeded to check. To our amazement she was chipped! We copied the chip information down and I took it with me figuring it would probably just lead to a dead end. The next stop would be Ashley, at her grooming shop, ‘Nellies’. When I walked in with her I knew this one would really be a challenge…but also knew that the one person who could give this mess of a dog her Cinderella moment was Ashley…I am familiar with her work. So, I left Marley with her and went outside to leave.

As I sat in my truck, I looked at the chip info and thought I would give them a call…again, thinking it would probably not help…but it can’t hurt to try. Well, when I gave the chip number to them I was told that this dog was listed as lost in December of 2012!! They kindly gave me the information on the owners complete with phone numbers….so I called the first number…and a woman picked up on the other end and I told her who I was and that I had picked up a little Shih-tzu to which a reply came from the other end of “you have my Faith!!” Yep…her name actually IS Faith which the microchip company had also told me. What a strange coincidence as that is the name the neighbor suggested earlier. Well, the owner on the other end of the line started sobbing…she was so overjoyed at Faith being found after a year and a half!

We talked for awhile…as she completely freaked out her coworkers who wanted to know why she was crying on the phone while jumping for joy at the same time. LOL It turns out that Faith had been left with a family member and as can happen, she accidentally got out the wrong door and went looking for her mama, who was on vacation in Florida. They live near Shreveport, Louisiana and Faith went missing from the relative’s house in Chidester, Arkansas…about 30 miles from here in Gurdon. She had posted signs in the area where the dog went missing and searched all over for her, with no luck. Sherry, her owner, was upset over her being missing every day and blamed herself for it…so you can imagine her relief at Faith being found. As you can see, Faith came out of that cocoon of matted hair as a beautiful butterfly! And the best part…Mom and Dad are on their way here to get their sweet little Faith and take her back home where she belongs.

I am so relieved at how this turned out because when I first saw this dog, all I could think of is whoever let this dog get this neglected was going to be getting as many tickets as i could write them…I am glad it happened the way it did. It is puzzling how she got to our town, but I am certain that she was picked up by someone where she was lost and brought here as she had her collar on her still, but all 3 tags were missing from her collar. Folks…this dog and owner would never have been reunited if not for the rescue she adopted faith from, (Passion for Pooches), microchipping her and her owner registering the chip properly! Reunion pics and video coming!!

Video of the reunion –

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