Milwaukee family reunites with lost dog after five years

Leola and John Voegtline say another person had their dog for over five years. They are now making up for lost time with their dog, Marley.
Posted at 9:47 AM, Oct 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-30 10:47:41-04

MILWAUKEE — A family in Milwaukee is grateful to have their dog back after quite some time. Their dog was returned to them on Friday, October 20th.

"Marley is our family, he's not a dog, he's our son” dog owner Leola Voegtline explains.


Marley is an 11-year-old poodle. Now, he is enjoying some one-on-one time with his mom and dad. Leola and John Voegtline would call it making up for lost time. Marley was missing for over five years.

Leola says not a day went by when she didn’t think about her sweet pup.

“1,872 days without Marley," she recalls.

The Voegtline's say Marley ran out of their house in Milwaukee on September 4th of 2018, when John was doing yard work.

"It was feeding time for the dogs, he called upstairs to the bedroom to me and said Leola is Marley up there? I said no Marley's not here. We looked around the whole house, we looked outside,” Leola explains.

At that point, they went on a full search for their pup. Leola says she called every shelter and contacted Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. "We sent out flyers everywhere, we went to groomers, we went door to door."

Then a miracle was discovered on June 1st of 2023 while their daughter was at a school picnic.

"She looked, and she said to her husband, that looks like Marley. She said she approached Marley and said "Marley! Marley!" and he turned, wagging his tail, jumping on her, licking on her,” Leola says.

Another family was found walking Marley. Leola’s daughter questioned the man who had their dog.

“How did you find this dog? And he said a person gave it to me and we took the dog the dog to the vet and the dog did not have a microchip and that was it,” Leola explains.

After a battle in small claims court, the family was granted their dog back. Leola says, "we knew he was out there, we knew somebody had him."

Although Marley wasn't microchipped, the Wisconsin Humane Society says it's a good idea.

"It makes reunions happen so fast,” Vice President of Communications for the Wisconsin Humane Society, Angela Speed explains.

Speed says when a microchip is scanned at a humane agency or vet, the owner's contact information is shown.

"A microchip is not GPS, it's not a tracking device. Its literally just a digital number that's permanently implanted in your dog,” Speed says.

Both John and Leola say Marley will get microchipped soon. "If we would have found him, and had the microchip, all that court stuff for all those months would not have had to be," John explains.

Now that Marley is back home, Leola wants to remind everyone what to do with stray animals. "This is Wisconsin State Law, if you find a dog, a cat, it has to be taken to a certified shelter.”