Whether it’s a late-night vet visit or spending overtime pay on a new toy, dog lovers will do almost anything for their pets. Most would even drive 1,000 miles for their dog. Unfortunately, single mom Ikea Mosley couldn’t drive that far. Her beloved dog had been abandoned seven states away by her disgruntled ex-boyfriend.
In an act of pure selflessness, a Humane Society and former animal control agent sacrificed their time and money to return Ikea’s dog. Learn about the inspiring journey that has internet dog lovers crying tears of joy.
A Mother-Dog Pair
In 2017, Ikea Mosley lived with her children and eight-year-old pit bull, Zimba. She worked full-time while taking care of both her kids and her dog in Wichita, Kansas. She adored both her dog and her children with all her heart.
Ikea also had a boyfriend at the time. All went well until her boyfriend’s road trip to the east coast damaged her life and her relationships.
Zimba Would Be Gone For A Little Bit, Right?
When her boyfriend scheduled a road trip to Maryland and asked to take Zimba with him, Ikea didn’t think twice about letting her dog join. His journey covered several thousand miles, and Ikea agreed that her boyfriend should have some company.
Unfortunately, while Ikea’s boyfriend traveled north, his relationship with Ikea took a turn for the worst. The future didn’t look bright for the couple. However, Ikea never would have guessed her boyfriend’s next move.
Abandoning A Mother’s Beloved Dog
After a tumultuous back-and-forth, Ikea and her boyfriend broke up. At this point, the boyfriend was over 1,000 miles east with his ex’s dog. Ikea presumed that he would return her dog on his way back. That’s not what happened.
Ikea’s ex-boyfriend had dumped poor Zimba in the middle of Maryland. Of course, Ikea didn’t know that at the time. She only understood that her precious dog never came home.
For Months, Ikea Heard Nothing
After their breakup, Ikea’s ex-boyfriend ignored her calls. He never returned to her house and never discussed Zimba. Ikea called and called, but the bitter ex never picked up. Months passed, and Ikea presumed that she would never see her pit bull again.
No one knew where the ex had abandoned Zimba. With no information, Ikea couldn’t search for her dog if she tried. It was easy to assume that Zimba had passed.
Zimba’s Chances Were Incredibly Low…
Not all onlookers will report a stray dog if they find one. In Maryland, 96,000 pets enter animal shelters every year. Of those, 45,000 cats and dogs die there annually. Even if Zimba did arrive at a shelter, he had a 50% chance of surviving.
All Ikea’s ex-boyfriend had to do was remove Zimba’s collar, and he would be mistaken for a stray. Surviving in the wild for months isn’t easy, even for a dog.
Fortunately, Kind People Exist
Meanwhile, Zimba wandered the streets of Ridgely, Maryland. Eventually, someone found the lost dog and took the time to alert animal control. An agent named Kaitlyn Noffsinger drove over to scoop up the pit bull.
Kaitlyn delivered Zimba to the Caroline County Humane Society, who fed and cared for the dog. They could tell that he was lost, but since Zimba didn’t wear a collar at the time, they couldn’t contact his owner.
Zimba’s First Savior: His Microchip
Fortunately, Ikea had taken the time to microchip her dog. While microchips don’t contain a GPS, they do offer an ID that the Humane Society can look up and uncover the owner’s contact information. And that’s what they did.
Months after her dog disappeared, Ikea received a phone call telling her that they found Zimba. Ikea felt overjoyed. She just had to pick him up from the Humane Society, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple.
Ikea Couldn’t Pick Up Her Dog
At the Caroline County Humane Society, Zimba was 1,300 miles away from Wichita. Ikea would have to cross seven states and a 20-mile drive to reach him. The trip would consume at least two days by bus and car, and Ikea had neither the time nor the resources to embark on the trip.
Ikea worked full-time and cared for her kids as a single mom. As much as she loved Zimba, her kids had to come first.
There Must Be Another Way
Despite the hardship, members of the Humane Society refused to give up. “We tried contacting airlines, but that proved to be an unsuccessful solution,” staff reported on Facebook. “We even contacted the Humane Society, where his mom had originally adopted him. They did not have a solution for us either.”
As the staff scrambled to send to Zimba home, Facebook users and other animal shelters brainstormed methods as well.
They Were Rapidly Running Out of Solutions…
With every failed idea, the Humane Society continually ended up back at square one. They couldn’t fly Zimba, and no one seemed to have the time to drive the dog all the way back to Kansas. Even with all of Facebook in the loop, no solution surfaced.
While all of this was going on, Kaitlyn Noffsinger, the animal control agent who originally picked up Zimba, updated her boyfriend, Zach, about the ongoing problem.
Zimba’s Second Savior: An Unlikely Hero
Zach Holt was an animal lover himself and a former animal control employee. He cared for his cat, Sullivan and his dog, Forrest. “I can’t imagine my right-hand man being gone that long,” he told local CBS affiliate WJZ-TV.
Both Zach and Kaitlyn empathized with Ikea’s pain. It seemed that nobody would step up to drive the lost pup. Against all expectations, Zach decided to do so.
Could Zach Really Afford To Help?
Zach wanted to help, and he did. The former animal control employee now worked weekends as a bartender. “I strictly work, you know, the weekend and Monday and I have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off,” he explained. “And four days is plenty of time to get to Kansas and back, so I said, ‘Why not?'”
Driving to Wichita and back would take up all of his free four days. Still, Zach decided to go.
This Trip Wasn’t Cheap (Or Easy)
Ikea felt relieved and grateful for Zach’s kindness. But what would he charge for such a trip? Ikea could only spare so much since she cared for all of her kids by herself.
Zach didn’t charge anything for the trip. Out of his love and empathy for Ikea’s situation, he funded the journey from his own pocket. But the Humane Society wouldn’t let him tackle this road trip alone.
Helping Out Zach
The Caroline County Humane Society turned to their online supporters, the Facebook users who sympathized with the dilemma, for help. “Zach is doing this strictly as a volunteer, asking for nothing,” the organization explained. “However, we are incredibly grateful and need to try to raise money to cover his gas, tolls, and other expenses incurred.”
A four-day road trip would likely cost Zach almost $1,000. To cover the expenses from his own pocket is an incredible mark of selflessness.
Heading Out With Zimba
With donations from supporters and a van provided by the Humane Society, Zach set out with Zimba on December 5th, 2017. Zach had never met the dog before settled into the car with him.
Not only would Zach have to drive through several states, but he also traveled at the start of winter. Fortunately, most states experienced less than 0.1 inches of snow during this month. At this point in the year, days were shorter than nights, leaving Zach to drive in the dark for most of the trip.
Zach’s New Companion
The trip to Wichita took 20 hours on top of an extra 20 that Zach would take, going back home. The volunteer reported that Zimba made the perfect driving companion. Instead of acting hyper or nervous, Zimba slept through most of the first day.
During a road trip, drivers need to walk dogs consistently, adding to Zach’s drive time. He also had to stay at dog-friendly hotels. On top of all that, Zach also had to watch Zimba to make sure he didn’t get nauseated.
The Fateful Reunion
On a wet night, Zach finally pulled up outside of Ikea’s house. There, KWCH news waited to capture the moment. The long-lost Zimba beelined across the yard toward Ikea, who dropped to her knees to greet him.
“I’m very, very thankful,” Ikea told KWCH news while holding back tears. “I’m like, speechless ’cause I really can’t believe he drove all the way here.” Zach’s kind act warmed many hearts that night.
Zach’s Journey Made A Difference
“If people just try, that’ll make a difference,” Zach told KWCH News. “I guess that’s one of the messages… Just try. All I had to do was sacrifice a little bit of time to get him back here.”
What Zach called “a little bit of time” constituted more than 40 hours of driving and a four-day trip. That’s no small feat. “It’s more than worth it,” Zach admitted. “It’s very fulfilling.”
Ikea And Her Christmas Miracle
To make the reunion even more special, Ikea and her kids got Zimba back home right before the holiday season. Considering what Ikea had suffered through for months before this moment, it was a Christmas miracle in anyone’s eyes.
Zach’s selflessness reminded everyone of the spirit of gift-giving. “I’m very truly blessed that Zach brought him back to me,” Ikea said. “If I could have, I would have drove all the way to get him.”
Microchip Your Pets!
Caroline County Humane Society employee Connie Cook reminded all pet owners to microchip their beloved animals. “The microchip is why [Zimba’s] going home,” she told Caroline Times Record.
Microchips require no surgery or anesthesia and are only as painful as a typical shot. Although they don’t replace collars and tags, they do provide an essential back-up in case an animal gets lost, as Zimba did.