ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Maltese dog named “Caesar” will be reunited with a Michigan family more than a year after he disappeared following a fatal crash on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari that killed two family members, the Quay County Sun reported.
Caesar left Tucumcari on Tuesday for Amarillo, where he will be flown to Oklahoma City, then on by plane and motor vehicle to Clio, Mich., the Sun said.
Monica Benson, 30, who lost her husband and a daughter in the accident, told the Sun her four surviving children have been excited ever since they learned Caesar had been found.
“This has been the best news we have received in a year,” Benson said. “Words cannot describe how much this means.”
The Benson family — and Caesar — were traveling west on I-40 near Tucumcari on June 15, 2010, when their 2001 Chevrolet minivan overturned, the Sun said. Gary and Emily Benson died in the accident, while 18-month-old Benjamin was placed in intensive care at an Amarillo hospital.
Last Friday, Christina Flemming, a member of the Tucumcari Animal Rescue Group, found Caesar at a Tucumcari animal shelter among seven adoption-eligible dogs that were being scanned for microchips, the paper reported.
“There was a chip implanted in a cute little Maltese we had named ‘Prince Harry,'” Flemming said. “I called the chip contact and was given a phone number for a woman in Michigan.”
Though the number had been disconnected, Flemming said she went online and found an article about the family that owned the dog being in a serious car accident near Tucumcari, the Sun said.
Flemming said she contacted the funeral home in Michigan and was eventually able to track down Monica Benson, and the two began planning Caesar’s ride home.
“I told the kids that Caesar would be home in a week,” Monica Benson told the Sun. “I did not want them to think he was going to be here tomorrow.”