SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- When it comes to telling time, a dog has no concept of a ticking clock.
Michelle Franks says that's what makes Sienna especially loving.
“She would come darting through the back door to run up to me and give me kisses,” Michelle said. “If I would be gone five minutes or a day she would have the same amount of excitement.”
But those sweet, unconditional greetings vanished in March 2020, when Sienna wandered out of their home's back gate and, uncharacteristically, never returned.
“We assessed the situation and believed that someone must have just saw her out there, picked her up and took her,” Michelle said.
Michelle contacted the San Diego Humane Society, posted all over social media and even offered a $250 reward, no questions asked. False alarms delivered gut punches, months turned into a year. Sienna's things got packed away in a box.
“Of course, all the awful things run through your head,” Michelle said. “It was just daily, constant pain, not knowing if she was okay.”
Meanwhile, Sienna was not far away. On March 1, someone found her wandering stray along Bancroft Drive in La Mesa. Sienna was dirty but otherwise seemed all right. The person who found Sienna brought her to the Humane Society in El Cajon, where they scanned for a microchip. That's when Michelle got the phone call she’d been hoping for.
“I could not believe it, I kept asking, are you sure it's her? And of course I start bawling,” Michelle said.
Two hours later, a worker brought Sienna to Michelle, who waited outside the front door of the El Cajon facility. Sienna scampered over to Michelle, and squirmed in her arms, licking her face. It seemed obvious Sienna recognized her.
“It was the best feeling ever," Michelle said. "I still can't believe she's home."
Michelle said Sienna remembers all of her favorite spots in the backyard, as if a clock were no such thing.
Michelle, on the other hand, knows full well she lost a year with her sidekick.
“She's 11 now,” Michelle said. “She's a small dog. She's still pretty active, so I hope she has several more years left.”
Those years could tick away like seconds to both of them.
The Humane Society says only one out of every 10 lost pets is found, and says microchipping can make all the difference. Appointments are available at a cost of $25 each.