How does a dog get from San Mateo, California, to Tijuana, Mexico, and back to the Bay Area?
Duke's owner really wants to know.
Before being reunited with her beloved pooch, Dianna Mattes and her parents were nervous.
“My heart is racing,” Mattes said Friday in a Pleasanton parking lot. “I hope he remembers me.”
The family had been forced to give up Duke almost three months ago because their apartment was too small for a pet.
“I only wanted the best for him,” she said. “I wanted him to have enough space to run around and play – not be indoors in a tiny, old apartment.”
Mattes’ father’s cousin lives in Baja, right near the California-Mexico border. The Matteses believed Duke was enjoying a better life there — until they learned he was found in Mexico as a stray with a tic-born disease.
Judy Clayton, with the Paws 4 Thought rescue group, said a woman in Tijuana found Duke and "reached out to us on Facebook because she knew we rescued dogs."
Clayton read Duke's dog tag and contacted the Matteses.
“We reached out to Diana and we said, ‘We believe we have your dog,’” Clayton said. “She was overwhelmed. She had no idea the dog was even missing.”
The Matteses greeted Duke on Friday with a “Hey, man, hey!” while her father Pablo Mattes wiped away tears.
Diana Mattes said her relatives finally admitted that Duke had been stolen awhile back. They just didn't have the heart to tell her, she said.
“I’m completely grateful,” said Mattes, who now lives in a home where she can properly take care of Duke. “I’m so blessed to have him here.”