• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Rancho Palos Verdes family reunites with dog after 4 years lost

May 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Four years ago, a black Labrador retriever mix did what most Labs do: bust out of his fenced backyard.

But on that day in 2007, Chuck didn't come back to his Palos Verdes Estates home.

"He was gone. We looked everywhere. We drove up and down the streets," said Chuck's owner, Lisa Nakkim.

The Nakkim family was desperate. They began posting flyers around their neighborhood, but to no avail.

Years went by and the Nakkims and their four children began to talk about replacing Chuck.

Not too far away, Torrance city worker Linda Sheldon recently spotted Chuck wandering the streets as she was walking to work. Only the pooch didn't look like he did on the flyers. The once 100-pound dog had lost 40 pounds. You could count his ribs.

"He was, I'm sorry to say, the smelliest dog ever," Sheldon said. "I could see the potential in the dog. He just has a wonderful, big heart."

She brought the emaciated dog to her office, where a coworker noticed the badly worn I.D. tag on Chuck's collar and Sheldon dialed the number.

"Every word that she kept saying I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh. Is this really happening? Is this really Chuck?'" Nakkim said.

They reunited at Torrance City Hall. After a trip to the veterinarian, they brought Chuck to their new home.

"My daughter said, 'Oh, we got a dog,' and I said, 'No, Lexa. That's Chuck.' She started crying. She just lost it," Nakkim said.

"He's back 100 percent," said Nakkim's husband, Eric. "It's like a lost member of the family coming home."