Swim coach reunited with missing Doberman after 7 years

ASU swim coach Dan Kesler and his dog BA reunited after BA had been missing for seven years. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Swim coach and graduate student Dan Kesler was reunited with his brown Doberman, BA, a few weeks ago after the dog had been missing for seven years.

Kesler said he lost BA in the woods during a thunderstorm years ago when he was living in Raleigh, N. C.

“A crack of lightning came down and spooked him, and he took off,” Kesler said.

That was the last time Kesler saw his dog before this month.

As a puppy, a microchip was implanted in his shoulder.

Three weeks ago, Kesler’s friend Steve House received a call that the dog had turned up at an animal shelter in Durham, N. C., which is about 30 miles from where Kesler lived in Raleigh.

House said he was the emergency contact Kesler used on paperwork throughout college.

He said he was there the day Kesler brought BA home for the first time, and he couldn’t believe it when he got the call about him turning up again.

“I was shaken up when they called me and told me they found BA,” House said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get that call.”

House said the people who work at the shelter were also taken aback when he told them BA had been missing for about seven years.

House immediately contacted Kesler to tell him the news.

“It took a few minutes to register that what I was saying was true,” House said. “It was a ‘no way’ kind of moment.”

Shanna Sylvester works as an adoption counselor at the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

She said returning dogs to their owners via microchips has become more common, but BA’s case was different because he had been lost for seven years.

“Usually it’s ‘my dog ran away last week,’” she said, “There’s usually not a seven-year period in between.”

Kesler arranged for a friend to pick BA up from the shelter and send him to Arizona.

He said the shelter’s veterinarians believed someone might have been taking care of BA for the past few years.

“There’s no way he would have been able to survive seven years on his own,” Kessler said.

He said BA also has a plate and some screws in one of his legs, as if he had been hit by a car and underwent surgery.

The area became infected and BA underwent surgery to fix the problem Monday.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I’ve got my dog,” Kesler said.

Kesler said he didn’t try to replace him because he was always optimistic the dog would turn up.

“I never changed my (phone) number in seven years, just in case this were to happen,” he said. “Not that I knew it was going to happen, but in the back of my mind, there was always a possibility that he could turn up.”


Reach the reporter at hblawren@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr

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