ST. LOUIS -- Cujo was a frisky 7-year-old when he sneaked out of his owners' yard in July 2000.
Now, thinner and grayer and with a tale that would be fascinating if only he could tell it, the golden retriever is back with the Barczewski family.
"It's a miracle," 41-year-old Noreen Barczewski said at Friday's reunion. "We found him!"
Six years can do a lot to a dog, but it was unmistakably Cujo.
There was the heart-shaped patch of white on his forehead, the white fur on his toes, his manner of greeting people by rubbing against them cat-style.
Cujo had somehow ended up 120 miles away in Columbia in the home of an elderly woman. When the woman entered a nursing home, the dog was sent to the Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia.
A week ago, Noreen Barczewski's brother-in-law, Michael Barczewski, went to an adoption agency Web site on a fluke. He'd been looking for a dog to adopt and saw the picture of the old dog with the white heart mark and white feet.
He recognized the dog immediately, and the reunion followed within days.