WESTAMPTON >> Reuniting a lost pet with their owners is always a happy occasion at the Burlington County Animal Shelter.
But especially when the reunification is nearly two years in the making.
Such a happy return happened Friday when a young orange and white tabby named Alexander was reunited with his owners, Lila Wynne and her daughter Hunter.
Alexander had gone missing close to two years ago after running through a screen door. His family spent months searching but could never locate him.
The cat was turned into the County Animal Shelter on March 9 after being found in Mount Laurel just a few miles from Wynne’s home. He had no tag and was initially so afraid of people that staff and volunteers were unable to examine him.
Eventually, staff were able to gain his trust and make him comfortable enough to be handled. During his checkup, a microchip was located and traced back to the Animal Welfare Association. The Voorhees-based nonprofit had records the cat was owned by Wynne.
Wynne received the phone call Wednesday that her lost cat had been located and was being cared for at the Burlington County Animal Shelter.
“I was so happy he was alive and we are so thrilled to get him back,” Lila said Friday about the surprise phone call. “He was away too long.”
She said her family has plenty of treats and blankets for Alexander to enjoy at home.
“We plan to give him lots of good loving,” Hunter added.
Dan O’Connell, Deputy Director of the Burlington County Board of Commissioners and Board liaison to the County Health Department and the Burlington County Animal Shelter was also present for the happy reunion Friday afternoon.
“There are few stories more heartbreaking than those about a lost pet, and few more heartwarming than the ones with happy reunions,” O’Connell said. “I’m proud of the role our Animal Shelter played in helping to bring about this happy ending. On behalf of our entire Board, I want to wish Alexander a ‘welcome home’ and thank all the shelter’s dedicated staff and volunteers for the work they perform every day to make sure all orphaned or stray animals receive the love and care they deserve. I also want to encourage pet owners to consider getting their companions microchipped. Stories like Alexander’s show how it can make a real difference.”
Located at 35 Academy Drive in Westampton, the Burlington County Animal Shelter cared for more than 2,800 lost or stray animals in 2020, including 384 that were eventually returned to their owners and more than 1,700 that were adopted into new homes.
Those interested in adopting an animal can contact the shelter at 609-265-5073 or online at www.co.burlington.nj.us/168/Animal-Shelter.
“Today we had a really good story with a happy ending, but we want to make sure every animal at our shelter finds a loving home,” O’Connell said. “So if you’re interested in a four-legged friend for your family, think of our animal shelter first."