New Jersey family finds lost dog at shelter 18 months later

Matt Kozar with the story from Eatontown, NJ. (WABC)
May 5, 2014 9:39:02 AM PDT
Call it the feel-good story of the day -- an amazing tale of a dog lost and found in New Jersey.

A Keansburg family thought their beloved pet was gone forever afte he went missing during the chaos of Superstorm Sandy. They finally gave up hope and broke down, deciding to get a new pooch. And that's when the magic happened.

"My wife looks down and sees the scar on his head and said that's our dog," Chuck James said. "The whole time we didn't have him, he was never far from our thoughts."

He and wife Alicia thought they'd never see their pitbull mix, Reckless, after he vanished a year and a half ago. So the Jameses had traveled to the Monmouth County SPCA to find a new pet.

And and lo and behold, the first dog that was there was Reckless.

"For him to be in that first kennel the minute we walked in the door," Alicia James said.

Chuck James called every shelter near the families home, but repeatedly came up empty. Reckless did not have a microchip.

"One of our employees noticed him loose, running on the streets up in Keansburg and brought Lucas in," Monmouth County SPCA president and CEO Jerry Rosenthal said.

That was back in November.

Reckless, renamed lucas by the SPCA staff, spent the past five months at the animal shelter without being adopted.

So how did he survive before he was picked up?

"No dog, especially in this area, would have been living on the streets by itself without having been cared for by another family," Rosenthal said.

He's a bit heavier now and has a skin condition, but he's as friendly a dog as you'll ever meet.

"He's not the type that would fight another dog over scraps on the side of the road," Chuck James said. "I have no doubt in my mind that he's been couch surfing ever since."

Reckless' story has been gaining a lot of attention.

His picture has more than 60,000 likes on the Monmouth County SPCA Facebook page.

"It's like winning the lottery without buying a ticket," Chuck James said.

The Jameses say they are just happy to have their lucky boy back home, safe and sound.