As any devoted pet parent knows, the pain of losing a family member is nothing short of excruciating. While every loss is tragic in its own right, perhaps the deepest sadness is the grief that comes from losing a dog who’s seemingly vanished from thin air. Nevadan, Alex Clark, experienced that gut-wrenching devastation all too suddenly when Malo, his sweet blue-nose Pitbull, went missing from the yard on April 25, 2014.
It wasn’t uncommon for Malo to play Houdini and disappear whenever opportunity arose, but he’d always find his way back home either tired from solo adventuring or by the hands of a concerned neighbor. He was never aggressive, despite the unfair reputation of his breed, and, in Alex’s words, only wanted people to pet him and give him treats. In truth, he was the “most chill and amazing dog”—extremely well-trained and passive by nature. As such, Alex kept his cool from the moment Malo sneaked out one afternoon—remaining optimistic, even in the weeks to follow, that his baby boy would come home.
It started with flyers. Craigslist. Endless searches throughout the neighborhood. Alex persevered every day for three months, always hopeful Malo would surface, but as time went on, reality started to set in. Malo wasn’t coming home. Alex suspected he was stolen—maybe sold—as Malo’s docile temperament made him somewhat of an easy target. Because he was so lovable, Malo, in a sense, was everyone’s dog. Alex’s friends and family felt his loss just as deeply and helped him scour Craigslist, jumping on any lead or distinctive trait even remotely similar to Malo’s. But with every close call came more waves of sadness. One night a neighbor was sure he spotted Malo in a park.
Alex showed up only to find another collarless Pitbull who had wandered from home. After posting an ad about the stray pup online and finding his owner within hours, Alex’s suspicions were made painfully apparent. This is what people do when they find a dog, he thought. They bring them home. Malo was chipped. It didn’t make sense. He wasn’t missing. He had been stolen.
Time passed and life went on as it does. Alex’s pain was the constant murmur of a television—always in the background, muted in one moment, unbearably loud in the next. And then, on May 20, 2015, over a year after his disappearance, Malo and Alex were reunited.
Alex received a call from an old friend, Malo’s original owner, from whom he adopted his beloved companion. He recalls the moment with utter shock and disbelief. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” he said. “And then when I realized who was contacting me I knew it was [Malo] because he was the original owner…the one who was under the microchip.” Alex hit the road immediately, desperate to see his pup with his own eyes. “I drove 100 miles an hour over to the house to pick him up,” he recalls, still stricken with emotion. “When I saw him I started crying.”
Alex’s suspicions were confirmed after being alerted to a Craigslist ad the next day. The ad described a lost dog—a blue nose Pitbull named Duke who escaped after the owner’s home was burglarized. The image attached to the ad was none other than sweet Malo.
To say Alex was angry would be a vast understatement, but he soon realized any attempt at contacting Malo’s dognapper would be in vain. He dismissed any ill will, stating, “I felt like karma was coming back to him.” The important thing was that Malo was home–reunited with Alex and his roommate, Oscar, along with a new brother and sister to keep him company (and hopefully out of mischief).
Whatever you believe in—karma, God, dumb luck—Malo’s story is one incredible ending to an otherwise tragic nightmare of unknowns and what-ifs. What everyone saw was a beautiful reunion of two shining souls; but to Malo and Alex, the outcome was a deeper manifestation of the kind of love shared between a dog and his master.
And even though it was Malo who was lost, it is Alex who feels as if he’s finally found home.