Dog's 900-mile trek from Texas ends in Tenn.

Associated Press • Mar 24, 2007 at 11:42 AM

NASHVILLE - There's no fence too high or distance too far to stop Stetson.

The Siberian husky with the pretty blue eyes has made a name for himself as an escape artist and a traveling man. The Lubbock, Texas, native was picked up nearly 900 miles away in Tullahoma by animal control officials earlier this month.

"I really wish he could talk," said Teresa Holt, animal control supervisor in Tullahoma, about 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

A resident found 14-month old Stetson scratching at her door and called city authorities. A police officer fostered him for the night he got out of the yard in no time but was recovered and a weeklong quest for the story of Stetson and his microchip implant began.

Stetson won't tell, but Holt said he's in good shape and must have hitched a ride to town.

"We're just across from the mall, and lots of truckers come through here, so we're thinking maybe he rode with someone coming through and then escaped on them," Holt said.

Stetson's owner, Brittany Poyner, said that her dog had sneaked away on several occasions and that his skills have even put him on death's door once before. Stetson found himself one kennel door away from being euthanized when he was brought to a Texas pound, Poyner said.

So Poyner and her husband had an identifying microchip implanted between Stetson's shoulder blades. The chip provided the only information that Holt and Tullahoma city workers could get.

The registration was out of date because Poyner had just moved, but they knew it was registered in Lubbock.

Holt and her staff tracked Poyner down with the little information they had and surprised her with the news that her dog made it to the Volunteer State.

The microchips are ethical, affordable and an excellent backup to rabies vaccine and identification tags, said Daphna Nachminovitch, director of domestic animal department at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"Microchips are a fail-safe way to ensure your pet has a better chance of coming home," she said. "Not everyone can trace them, since usually only shelters and veterinarians have the ability to scan for the chips, but it's something we encourage everyone to do."

Poyner and her husband plan to update their registration as soon as they get Stetson home, where a bigger fence is already waiting. The Tullahoma city shelter, Poyner and an animal rescue group will share the cost of the flight, in a secure animal carrier. AP-CS-03-24-07 1127EDT

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