We may never know how Pequin spent his late winter and early spring, but he found enough food and shelter to be in excellent health when he was captured recently and reunited with his owner.

The 4-year-old blue heeler was caught Friday, June 12, by Owatonna's Candace Smith, using hot dogs in a live trap she borrowed from the Steele County Humane Society. She has captured dogs previously and says, "Hot dogs get them every time." Smith had learned of the dog's presence on a local Facebook page dedicated to lost pets. She runs Critter Comforts doggy daycare in Owatonna and has a special place in her heart for rescues. It turns out this dog has been sighted around the Front Street area in Owatonna by several people over the past few months.

The dog was skittish and shy but in great health when he was brought to the Owatonna Veterinary Hospital, where Ariana Schwab found tags on the animal. A phone call found the owner, who lives in the Northfield area and reportedly lost the dog in mid-February. Schwab says, "This is a good reminder to people to get their dogs vaccinated and chipped."

Smith said this breed of dog is pretty hardy, so she wasn't surprised that the dog held up well, but she doesn't know how it would have ended up in Owatonna. She said blue heelers don't usually wander away. She was thrilled to see the reunion between the owner and dog. "It was really a fun thing to do, getting them reunited, makes it all worth while," she said. She and Schwab said the dog was elated at the sight of its owner. "None of us had dry eyes," Smith said.