FORT PIERCE — Every animal-lover’s heart sinks at the sight of “lost pet” posters, and the thought of it happening to one’s own pet is a particular point of dread. For one Fort Pierce man, though, the story had a happy ending, albeit very belatedly.
Perry Martin, a retired police officer, has just been reunited with Thomas Jr. (or “T2” for short), his orange tabby that went missing during a hurricane.
The kicker? That storm was Hurricane Jeanne from 2004, a full 14 years ago!
The secret to T2’s salvation was an identification microchip under his skin which allowed the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast to reach out to his long-lost owner.
“They said, ‘Perry, what would you do if we told you that T2 was alive?’” Martin recounted. “I said, ‘I would probably tell you you were crazy because he died a long, long time ago.’”
T2 was only with Martin for about two years when he got lost during the brutal storm. Perry filed a report at the time with the Humane Society in the hopes that they could identify him by microchip if he turned up. As the weeks turned into months, though, Martin gave up hope.
“My vet even listed him as deceased,” he said.
Nonetheless, T2 turned up with the Humane Society early in March of this year—rail-thin, with fleas, but very much alive.
“As soon as I looked at that face I knew exactly who it was,” Martin said of the reunion. “A little bit older—kind of like me.”
“Let me tell you, this is why I love working here,” a jubilant Sarah Fisher (volunteer program coordinator at the Humane Society) said of the happy event.
“I’m convinced he had to have had somebody bring him into their house,” Martin went on. “He must have been part of somebody’s family.”
As though surviving his lengthy absence weren’t proof enough, T2 went on to exhibit his adaptability by settling right back in at home.
“He’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s moving around,” Martin said. “He had an opportunity to come home. Spend time with his family. And be on a good note until he passes.
“And until that day,” Martin continued, “he’ll be spoiled like he was before he left.”