Pit bulls have a reputation for tenacity, but they don’t get much more tenacious than Jill. The family dog managed to survive on her own for three years before she finally found her humans again — with a little help from technology.
The beginning of Jill’s story is all too common, and familiar to anyone who has lost a dog. Rex and Britnee Smith are the owners of Jill and her brother, Jack, both pit bulls. The entire family was fond of the dogs, especially the Smiths’ 5-year-old daughter. This made it all the more heartbreaking when Jack and Jill went missing from their Little Rock, Arkansas, home in July of 2020, despite being kept in a fenced backyard.
The Smiths tried everything they could think of to find the pups. They posted pictures of their furry family members on social media and on posters they hung throughout the neighborhood. As time went on and no leads emerged, hope dwindled, and the family eventually moved 300 miles away to McKinney, Texas.
Then this July, Rex got a miraculous call from Little Rock Animal Village in his old hometown: Jill had been found, relatively safe and sound except for some scrapes and rough paws. The news brought his wife to tears, and the Smiths made the drive back to Little Rock for the big reunion, which Friends of the Animal Village captured in pictures and shared on social media.
“She came right into our arms,” Britnee told USA Today. Soon after, Jill’s long lost humans treated her to a grooming at the local doggie spa.
If you’re in Little Rock, keep an eye out for Jack, a black pit bull with a white belly who is still at large.
As you can see in the post, Jill’s rescuers at the Little Rock Animal Village noted that even this happy ending wouldn’t have happened if Jill wasn’t microchipped, allowing the shelter to identify her. Studies do show that lost pets with a vet-implanted microchip are much more likely to be returned, as was the case in 2021 when a stolen Yorkshire Terrier found his way back to his owner after 13 years.