DAWSON, GA (WALB) - Friday brought a touching reunion after a pet, lost during Hurricane Irma evacuations, returned home to Florida.
Taylen Hartshorn, 8, from Fort Myers, evacuated through southwest Georgia the weekend before Hurricane Irma struck in September.
On September 9, she and her family stopped at a gas station on Highway 82 in Dawson, where their lives changed.
"I was holding him, and he had ran out the door and went under a car," said Taylen about her cat, Jay-Z.
"There was a noise," explained Terrell County Animal Control Director Martha Ann Coe. "Something spooked the cat, and he jumped from her arms and ran."
Jay-Z was nowhere to be found.
"This little girl was crying herself to sleep every night," Coe said.
Taylen's sad story did not fall on deaf ears in southwest Georgia.
"It just pulled at everyone's heartstrings," Coe explained.
It was shared on the Peanut's Friends Facebook page that focuses on lost pets in this area.
Shortly after, people turned out to help Taylen.
"People walked blocks every weekend, calling and looking for this cat named Jay-Z," Coe explained.
Then, this week, three months after the cat went missing, a teen in Dawson recognized the black and white cat that walked up on his porch.
"I felt so happy that I was crying," said Taylen.
Thanks to the cat's microchip, Coe knew for sure it was Jay-Z.
"If he had been found somewhere else outside Terrell County, that microchip would have ensured he got back home," Coe said.
Friday, just hours after she got her cat back in her arms, Taylen said she wanted to thank the kind strangers who helped search for her beloved pet.
"I would try to do the same for everyone else, and that means they're really well-hearted," Taylen explained.
A volunteer drove Jay-Z to Orlando overnight Thursday, and Taylen was reunited with her pet early Friday morning.
The teen who found Jay-Z in Dawson didn't know there was a reward for finding him.
It only took people a couple days to come up with the $250 reward for his kindness.
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