Would your dog remember you after 10 years away?
Carly Suierveld thinks so. She just saw her dog Abby for the first time in a decade.
"It's quite a journey, it was so great seeing her again," Suierveld tells NPR's Scott Simon. "She barked at me at first, but now she's cuddling up and kind of seeming to remember who I am."
Abby, a female black Lab mix, was lost from the Suierveld family's home in Apollo, Pa., 10 years ago. Carly was 12 at the time.
"I was really devastated and I was really invested in trying to find her back," she says. "So we were putting flyers up all over the neighborhood. We live in a rural area, so we tried our best to get out and reach everyone."
But they couldn't find her and had to declare her deceased.
Then one day, Suierveld's mother, Debra, got a call from an animal shelter. "They said, 'We have your dog,' " Debra told Scott Simon last month. "And I said, 'That's impossible.' "
But it was Abby — she had a microchip identifying her.
Debra called Carly to tell her the news. "I was very confused," Carly says. "It had been a while since I'd heard the name Abby."
Carly says her mother "explained the story about how they found her a couple towns over and I was just in shock. And I really wanted to be able to get home that weekend," Carly says — but she is in school at Miami University in Ohio and has two jobs.
She finally made it home just over a week ago to see Abby.
So, does Abby really remember her?
"I would like to think so — I mean, she stayed with me for basically the rest of the night," Carly says. "So I'm going to choose that thought."
As for where Abby was these past 10 years, the family doesn't know.
"Ten years of just being off and not knowing where she was, it's just really kind of driving me crazy," Carly says. If Abby could talk, "I'm sure she would have some great stories to tell."