SAINT PAUL, MN — Hazel the dog had been missing since 2017 when Monica Mathis finally found the beloved family pet — on a beer can, of all places.
The Saint Paul woman was living in Iowa when the terrier mix slipped off her leash in the back yard. Mathis scoured the neighborhood and searched shelters. There was no trace of Hazel. When Mathis took a job in the Twin Cities, she and her children moved there without their dog.
Reconnections through social media aren’t uncommon. This one seems especially charmed, though.
The Mathis family reunion with Hazel that will take place later this week in Saint Paul is the happy but accidental outcome of a partnership between Motortown Brewing in Bradenton, Florida, and Manatee County Animal Services to find permanent homes for shelter dogs.
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The brewery featured the mugs of homeless dogs on beer cans in a wildly popular promotion that grabbed the attention of animal-loving talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, national media and, ultimately, social media.
Keep in mind homeless dogs come in at the Manatee shelter at a clip of about of a dozen a day. What are the odds that out of all those dogs needing homes, Hazel would be one of only four chosen for the beer can campaign? And what are the odds that, 1,600 miles away in Saint Paul, Mathis would be scrolling through social media and learn that Hazel had been found in a place she would never have thought to look?
“I was looking at the dogs and I was like, ‘Of my gosh, that’s Hazel,’ ” Mathis told news station WFOR. “We were all screaming like crazy people because we were so excited.”
The shelter staff called the dog Day Day, but was Hazel alright. The dog had been microchipped, but Mathis lost track of the paperwork.
“I sent everything I could find — all the pictures so I could stop an adoption process from happening because I could’ve lost her again,” Mathis told news station KSTP.
How Hazel ended up in Florida will probably never be answered, but Mathis is looking forward to the day they’re back together.
“I’m just so blessed and excited to have her home and I get her back,” she told WFOR.