Two Families, One Dog: Maltese’s Return Home Means Pain for His Other Family

A maltese named Reese is back with his original family in Texas

— -- A Texas family’s incredible reunion with their pet dog missing for seven years has turned into a tug-of-war battle between two families each laying claim to a beloved pet.

The dog in question, a Maltese named Reese, was reunited on Monday night with his original owners, the Miller family, in Tyler, Texas, after he was found on a road in Tacoma, Wash., almost 2,000 miles away.

The dog was linked back to the Millers through a microchip.

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“It was just a fairytale,” Dinah Miller told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “We never gave up hope and we never stopped talking about him.”

A Washington family, however, argues that Reese was not a runaway on the streets of Tacoma but their beloved pet, named Harley, whom they adopted from an animal shelter near Dallas 6 1/2 years ago.

“Right now I feel like there is something missing,” Desiree Wolford told ABC News.

Wolford, a mother of three and grandmother to nine, says Harley escaped from their home over the weekend.

“My son came back from Iraq, he was broken,” she said of one of her sons, a U.S. Army soldier. “I can’t even explain what Harley has done for him.”

“Harley has touched our lives more than you can explain,” she said.

Wolford claims that when her family adopted the dog from the shelter, they were told the dog’s previous owners had given him up and were not told of the microchip.

The Millers in Texas say they have no plans to return their pet to the Wolfords and at least one expert says they legally do not have to.

“In this situation, we look at possession and right now the Millers have the pet and they’ll probably be allowed to keep the dog,” Steven Mindel, a California-based certified family law specialist, told ABC News.

Though the Wolfords say they are devastated to lose their pet, they say they do not blame the Millers but are upset with the shelter for not checking for a microchip when the dog was first found in 2007.