IMAGE: Jacob Barczewski and Cujo
Odell Mitchell Jr./St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Jacob Barczewski, 8, gets a close look Friday at his family’s golden retriever, Cujo, which had been missing for six years.
updated 1/29/2007 12:58:50 PM ET 2007-01-29T17:58:50

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.

Brother-in-law's luck
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 that city.

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.

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