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Mississippi family reunited with lost dog lost in Tangipahoa Parish campgrounds over July Fourth weekend

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PONCHATOULA - A 3-year-old golden retriever, Theo, is recovering well with his family after being missing for six days.

"I couldn't work, I couldn't think straight. He's like a kid, he ain't a pet, he is part of our family," Mickey Shaw said.

The Shaw family traveled from Mississippi to Tangipahoa Parish over the July Fourth weekend for a camping trip. As they were heading back to their camper to secure Theo, fireworks started popping and Theo ran off.

"I took off immediately after him, but obviously the fireworks kept going, so he probably just kept going and then couldn't find his way back," Shaw said.

Shaw says he spent all night and the next day searching for his buddy. Unfortunately, they had to return home.

"I don't know that any of us could go a whole hour without breaking down, it was crazy," Shaw said.

He never gave up hope. Shaw came back day after day. Flyers were posted all around the campgrounds. A Facebook post was shared more than a thousand times. He says they will never forget the support and help they received.

"They were messaging me and my wife, 'Hey were riding down here,' 'No site here.' We never expected so many people," Shaw said.

After days of searching, a clothing item led Theo back.

"Sounds crazy, but he has something about my feet, he always sits on my feet, is always sniffing my feet. I don't know why. They stink. So I took dirty socks and put them where I believe he left, that was Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday morning he was there," Shaw said.

Another camper saw Theo and within hours the family was happily reunited.

"We all just brushed our teeth, and whatever we slept in, that's what we had on," Shaw said.

Theo's paw pads were injured, but he is in good spirits as he continues to recover. Shaw says they never gave up and knew they would bring their dog home.

At the time Theo ran off, Shaw says he was not leashed, but that is something they won't let happen again. The owners intend never to take Theo camping during a fireworks holiday. He says when they do go camping, he will stay on a leash with a GPS-tracking collar.

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