A Finley woman was reunited with her beloved pet this week thanks to the volunteers with Pet Over Population Prevention.
And the reunion was a tearful one.
"As soon as the little Pomeranian mix arrived and saw her owner, Raquel Cooper, she flew onto her lap," said Molli Van Dorn, POPP founder. "It was a precious moment, very emotional. We were all crying."
The part Pomeranian, part long-haired Chihuahua, named Bell, was found Friday by POPP volunteers after she wandered hungry and cold for several days in Kennewick's Columbia Park.
Cooper said the pooch went missing from her home around Thanksgiving. She suspects someone in the Finley area may have picked her up and dumped her off in the park.
"Don't ask me why someone would do that," Cooper said. "But there are all sorts of mean people in the world."
It was a trip to PetSmart that led Cooper to discovering the whereabouts of her precious pet.
Though Cooper, 43, was unaware of POPP before that day, she has become a devoted fan of the organization and plans to volunteer time to help with their fundraising events.
"They guided me to the petfinder.com site that day, and the first dog that came up when I went to the site was Bell," Cooper said. "I recognized her right off. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find her. And I'm so grateful it was the POPP people who found her."
When lost animals are found by POPP, they are placed in a foster care home, fed and checked by a veterinarian, Van Dorn said. Then a free classified ad is placed in the Tri-City Herald's lost pets section giving a description of the animal and a phone number to call. If the animal is not claimed, POPP has the critter spayed or neutered and searches for a new loving home.
"I'm always leery at first when people claim an animal," Van Dorn said. "It's why I make sure they describe the dog in detail before we hand it over. But there was no doubt in my mind (Bell) belonged to Raquel. That little dog was just way too happy to see her."
To contact POPP, call 943-4722.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org