As of Tuesday, Smitty is back in a cab and Illinois-bound. "He's already on his way home," Edwards said, and should arrive by Thursday.
Kindred Hearts still has plenty of work to do. Edwards told The Dodo that the organization will be bringing Cooper, a Florida dog found Monday in New Hampshire, back south. (Edwards also had some strong words for pit bull kill policies in Houston, contrasting the idea of "vicious" dogs with the image of Smitty, who sleeps with a three-foot pink bunny. "This is America," she said. "We've got to be more enlightened.")
Smitty isn't the first dog to embark on a trip that takes hundreds of miles to get home, though some pups have traveled impressive distances on their own. In June, a dog hiked 500 miles to Brazil's World Cup. And the world record holder is a dog who, in 1979, allegedly walked 2,000 miles across Australia to end up at his old home. (Not to be outdone, an Australian cat wandered 2,400 miles over three years, a voyage that included a mysterious trip over the sea from Tasmania to mainland Australia. The wayward feline finally made it home after being picked up by a nurse.)
In just two years, Kindred Hearts has grown to 21,000 volunteers, stretching across every state as well as Canada. "You would be impressed with how many people who can't foster or adopt say, 'Oh, I can drive,'" Edwards said. "'I can help the dog get somewhere safe.'"
CORRECTION: A previous version of the article indicated Amanda Vysocky is affiliated with the Houston Humane Society. She is an independent animal rescuer whom the Humane Society contacts regarding pit bulls in the area.