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Loyal and intelligent, but often too curious for their own good, cats do extraordinary things. They crawl into packing boxes, unnoticed, and get sent on cross-country adventures. They hitchhike in luggage and wind up in the bellies of airplanes. They escape from cars during the process of moving to new homes. And then, when their owners have given up all hope of finding them – if they even know what’s happened to them – they often reappear, years later.

Count Dooley among those clever, or downright lucky, cats who managed to find their way home again. According to Connecticut’s, the orange-and-white tabby went missing in 2016 when owners Suzanne and Jack Monnes returned to Westbrook, Connecticut from Florida, where Dooley first came to live with them. They had stopped at their lawyer’s office in Madison to sign the closing papers. When Suzanne Monnes returned to the car, Dooley slipped out, and they couldn’t locate him afterward.

How Micro-Chipping Brought Dooley Home

“We put up fliers everywhere, we called the animal control officer and did everything we could to find him,” she told the online news site. She also continuously checked the social media pages of Forgotten Felines, and she kept all of Dooley’s belongings, including his bed and toys. But perhaps the smartest element in her three-year search was what she had done long before in Florida: She micro-chipped Dooley and registered him with the AKC Reunite program. That decision, recommended and performed by her veterinarian, ultimately brought the cat back to the Monnes family.

The microchip, the size of the tip of a toothpick, contains an ID number that is unique to the animal. When it’s scanned, it confirms ownership, and the program sends a message to the animal’s registered caretakers.

Madison Animal Control Officer Liz Amendola, who picked Dooley up after Madison citizen Jennifer Rooney called in about him on July 12, found him on the Forgotten Felines page. She also scanned him to confirm his identity. The program worked as it should, texting Suzanne Monnes.

A Long-Awaited Homecoming

Normally, Amendola says, she wouldn’t have captured a feral cat unless it was sick or injured. But Dooley was acting like a pet – socialized, communicating, well-fed. Both Rooney and Amendola felt that he was a lost domesticated feline. So Amendola acted on her instincts, to the joy of Suzanne Moones,

“You could have wiped me up off the floor. I had totally given up,” Monnes told “I couldn’t believe that after three years I got my guy back.”

Although it seems likely that some Madison good Samaritans housed or at least fed Dooley throughout those three intervening northeastern winters, Suzanne Monnes took Dooley to Clinton Veterinary Hospital for a checkup. He passed with flying colors.

It’s not just the cat who has a happy ending. Jack Monnes, who has dementia, remembers Dooley. And pets are wonderfully calming for those who suffer from memory and cognitive impairment disorders.

Since they have all been reunited, Suzanne Monnes says, the cat hasn’t left their side. They have a few people to thank for that. But most of all they can pat themselves on the back for choosing to register him with AKC Reunite in the first place.

About AKC Reunite

One in three pets will go missing in their lifetimes. That’s a scary statistic, but it doesn’t need to alarm you. Register them with AKC Reunite, which stores your pet’s information and medical records. Lifetime enrollment costs only $17.50. Your records are kept private, and you have protection for your pet and access to a live agent 24/7/365. AKC Reunite accepts all brands of microchips.