ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A small dog that wandered away from its owner in South Florida five years ago is finally back home.
Jessica Namath, the daughter of former New York Jets football star Joe Namath, had her Shih Tzu mix named Tula with her in a Jupiter backyard five years ago.
The dog wandered into the front yard, and when Namath went to look for it, the dog was gone.
She frantically searched for Tula, posting a $2,000 reward, calling animal control, consulting psychics and sending friends to search nearby canals in kayaks. She never found Tula.
Namath tells the Tampa Bay Times that she was shocked to get a phone call Wednesday about the missing dog.
The caller was Michael Cecere of St. Petersburg, who found had found the dog in front of his car as he was running errands.
He first knocked on neighborhood doors trying to find the owner and then took the dog to an animal hospital, where a tracking chip was found in the dog.
Cecere tracked down a phone number for Namath through Facebook. "I could hear her jaw drop over the phone," said Cecere.
Namath and Tula were reunited Thursday.
A St. Petersburg woman tells the Tampa Bay Times that she found the bedraggled dog four years ago in West Palm Beach. The dog had missing teeth and sores and was losing hair in chunks.
"We didn't think she had a chip in her because of the condition she was in," Yanelys Miranda said.
She took in the dog, and it moved with the family to St. Petersburg two years ago. Miranda said the dog recently slipped away from their home, possibly after her children left a gate open.
She posted an ad about the dog on Craigslist, and she eventually learned that she had Namath's dog.
"It's a huge loss for us," Miranda said. "But what can we do?"