He escaped Oct. 17, soon after his family moved into their new Mission Viejo home.
Since then Maya, a golden retriever/German shepherd mix, has survived along the Oso Creek Trail. And now the Ohnemus family is complete once again.
What was Maya's reaction to seeing her family for the first time in five months?
"(She) took one look at her long-lost family and started dancing around the kennel, jumping up and down with her tail wagging uncontrollably," said Mission Viejo Animal Services Center Manager Gail DeYoung.
Here's the full story from Mission Viejo spokeswoman Kelly Tokarski:
A dog was recently reunited with her family after spending roughly five months surviving along the Oso Creek Trail.
Maya,a golden retriever/German-shepherd mix, was spotted by a resident who called Mission Viejo Animal Services Center to report the stray dog.
"The resident said the dog looked healthy yet skittish and thought she was just someone’s pet who had gotten out of the yard and that she would find her way back home," said Gail DeYoung, Mission Viejo animal services manager. "However, as time went on and the dog’s visits continued, the resident realized that she was losing a lot of weight and decided to call Animal Services for help. One of our officers went directly out to the house to assess the situation and soon realized that this dog would not easily be caught, so the decision was made to put some good food in a humane trap and hope for the best."
The plan worked and the next day the beautiful dog was brought to the shelter where she began to enjoy regular meals and attention from staff.
While checking the lost-and-found book for any dog that might match Maya's description,a shelter employee found an entry describing a skittish golden retriever-mix dog with black markings. The dog had been missing since Oct. 17, 2012. After checking a map, the employee realized that the dog’s home was located directly across from Oso Creek Trail.
James Ohnemus,the owner, was called and told that a dog matching Maya's description had been located.
The Ohnemus family moved here from Arizona last October so Maya was completely unfamiliar with the area. One morning she got out of the backyard and was never found.
“After searching for Maya for two months, we sort of gave up hope,” said James Ohnemus.
That all changed when Ohnemus, his wife and two kids rushed to the shelter on Hillcrest to see the dog who had been trapped the day before.
"The dog took one look at her long-lost family and started dancing around the kennel, jumping up and down with her tail wagging uncontrollably," DeYoung said. "The family was equally excited to see their dog – skinny but safe – both children hugging Maya around her neck, unwilling to let go. After several months surviving along Oso Creek Trail lost, confused and
eating who-knows-what to survive, Maya was finally heading home."
For more information about the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center, call 949-470-3045.