May 16 (UPI) -- An Arizona animal rescue group said a dog who was presumed dead after going missing from her new home was found to have been living on the loose for 15 months.
The Friends for Life Animal Rescue, based in Gilbert, said the small puppy named Lilibeth was fostered by Carly Fife in 2021 before being adopted by a family.
The rescue said Lilibeth had been with the family for only a single day before getting loose.
"Immediately went to look for her, because I had just bonded with her," Fife told KSAZ-TV. "We looked several days that week, put up signs and walked the alleys. And at a certain point I thought she couldn't be found, she couldn't survive out there."
The family that adopted Lilibeth eventually gave up hope and adopted another dog.
The Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team, a local nonprofit, was contacted recently about a dog living on the loose about three blocks away from where Lilibeth vanished. Neighbors said the elusive dog had been wandering the area for about a year.
"She looked distressed, and they were able to trap her and scan for her microchip back to us, and not only was she able to find her way back to us, but to her original foster family that was kind enough to foster her again," Barb Savoy with Friends for Life said.
The rescue group said Lilibeth was still wearing the same collar she had on when she went missing.
"Lilibeth probably survived on cat food and water left out for the cats, so we're very fortunate she was able to survive 15 months out on her own," Savoy said.
Fife said Lilibeth is adjusting well after returning to her home.
"I think she remembered our home and the smells and everything, so she adjusted pretty quickly," Fife said. "Probably the next day she was jumping up the stairs on the couch, tail wagging."