October 22, 2021

Stamp Pets

Snap Into A Slim Pets

San Antonio dog returns home after more than 10 years

If San Antonio had a real-life version of the 1990s movie Homeward Bound, David Calderon and his labrador Samson might be the stars. 

Animal Care Services reconnected Calderon and the dog more than 10 years after Samson went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the “power” of microchipping for the heartwarming and unbelievable reunion. 

Calderon estimates it had been 11 years since he saw Samson. He says Samson, who was three at the time, had a habit of escaping the fence at the Calderon home, but never made it far before the family would bring him back to safety. Calderon suspects Samson didn’t leave on his own accord, but was stolen. 

Animal Care Services reconnected David Calderon and his pet, a lab named Samson, more than 10 years after the dog  went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the “power” of microchipping for the heartwarming and unbelievable reunion. 

Courtesy, David Calderon

The family searched their Ingram-area neighborhood and posted signs asking for information. They hoped the microchip would prove useful and bring Samson back home. 

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“Years would go by and we were still talking about him and we’d look at pictures of him,” the owner says. “I never completely gave up hope, but I had lost track of how many years it was.” 

On June 15, Calderon received a call from ACS telling him they found one of his pets in the District 9 area, which encompasses Stone Oak neighborhoods. He knew it wasn’t his other dogs since they were secure inside their home. Calderon hoped that the dog at the shelter might be Samson, but was wary — it had been more than a decade, after all. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “I felt like my heart stopped.”

Calderon says he “ran” over to the shelter and there Samson was. 

Animal Care Services reconnected David Calderon and his pet, a lab named Samson, more than 10 years after the dog went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the

Animal Care Services reconnected David Calderon and his pet, a lab named Samson, more than 10 years after the dog went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the “power” of microchipping for the heartwarming and unbelievable reunion. 

Courtesy, Animal Care Services

While this story has a happy ending, Calderon still feels robbed and pained by the condition he found Samson in. The last time Calderon saw Samson, he was spry 3-year-old. When he arrived at the shelter, he met a more demure — and unsure —  14-year-old dog. He was covered in fleas and weighed 56 pounds. Calderon says he was 93 pounds when he disappeared. 

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Though years of Samson’s life are missing, Calderon notices some of his old mannerisms remain, like the way he curls up his left arm under his chest when he sits.

Animal Care Services reconnected David Calderon and his pet, a lab named Samson, more than 10 years after the dog  went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the

Animal Care Services reconnected David Calderon and his pet, a lab named Samson, more than 10 years after the dog  went missing. The owner and ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood credit the “power” of microchipping for the heartwarming and unbelievable reunion. 

Courtesy, David Calderon

“Little by little, we’ve been able to put some weight back on him, we get him to the vet on a regular basis,” Calderon says. “But I feel in a way, like the person who took him stole some of his best years from us. But even so, we’re going to give him the best that we can give him.”

Calderon says ACS also supports his theory that Samson was stolen. The city department shared the story on Facebook, pulling on the heartstrings of thousands. Many said the story had them “bawling” or “crying a river.” Others asked for an update on Samson’s life back at home. 

He’s been back with the Calderons for few weeks now. The family says the dog’s initial confusion is wearing off as he’s regaining strength. 

“I never lost hope that I was going to get him back somehow, someway,” Calderon adds. “The odds were slim, the longer it went, but I think what also helped him was the fact that we neutered him, so I think that added a little longer lifespan to him.”