In 2016, Mares had to go to California from Florida for further medical treatments and her roommate at the time agreed to take care of Semper. But Mares got a call she never expected. "I was told by my ex-roommate that he was missing," Mares said.
When she returned, she searched everywhere for Semper. When she had to move to California later that year, she continued to contact shelters in Florida.
"For a year, I continued searching while in California, posting up fliers via pet sites, calling 15 vet places around were I used to live over there about him, calling the humane societies about him, shelters," Mares said. "[I] posted info about him on Facebook, lost dog forums, and pages and groups. Every day I waited for a phone call about someone finding him ... His microchip is registered to me since he was 3 months [old] ... yet I received nothing. I was worried sick about him, and missed him dearly."
That's when Mares decided to get help. She asked a private investigator, Ana Campos, to help track down her beloved dog.
"She had purchased a lifetime registration with AKC Reunite," Campos told The Dodo. "A year into this someone suggested she check her AKC Reunite chip again. So she went to the humane society in May 2017 and they checked online ... That is when she discovered that a year earlier, on April 11, 2016, a woman added her name to Semper's chip."
Apparently, the other microchip company didn't check to see whether an owner was already registered on Semper's chip. Campos found out that someone had put Semper on Craigslist for sale for $200 and that's why he had never shown up, despite all of Mares' searching.
Finally, just the other day, Semper was reunited with Mares — and both the dog and Mares were overwhelmed with emotion. Mares broke into joyful tears and Semper was so excited he could not stop bouncing.