NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Until last week, no one had called Relay the dog by her name in 18 months.
"We had another dog named Rom. We had another dog named Sparks. We had a dog named Crystal. And a dog named Wire," Rick Moneck told Fox 5 via Skype. He runs an appliance repair business in Palm Beach, Florida, and requires his family to name their dogs for electronics parts.
Relay, who can call a switch controlling a circuit her namesake, joined the Moneck family in 2014. But 18 months ago, she disappeared after tunneling under a fence surrounding the family's yard.
"Richard had made posters," Moneck said, referring to his son. "He probably made a hundred or so posters and put them up on every telephone pole in the area."
Surveillance video from a gas station near her Florida owner's home showed someone picking Relay and putting her in their car. How Relay then arrived on Long Island and with whom or where she lived for the last year and half only Relay knows.
"She's got to be totally confused at this point," said Myra Kennett, who volunteers at the animal rescue group Bobbi and The Strays in Freeport. The group received relay after someone found her running loose elsewhere on the island. Upon receiving her, the shelter called a microchip company about the chip inside Relay.
"They called back and said they found the owners of the dog in West Palm Beach, Florida," Kennett said.
Moneck said, "They called my son Richard and he thought it was a prank."
Now two volunteers plan to drive relay the 1,200 miles back to the Moneck family.
"Because she's such an escape artist we didn't feel comfortable sending her on a transport," Kennett said.
"The dog had to be stolen and the dog had to be taken to New York," Moneck said.
Relay was equipped with a chip, a collar, and a brass tag with the Monecks' name and number on it. So Moneck believes the first person to find relay after her original escape must have recognized that she had a home, to which soon she'll now return.
"We are very excited to have her back," Moneck said.