Pet found 7,000 miles away reunited with family after 4 months

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Pet found 7,000 miles away reunited with family after 4 months
Cauli, the Benevise family pet was lost in South Korea, but her family never gave up on finding her even after they relocated to Savannah, GA. Submitted photo
Cauli the pet cat found 7000 miles away reunited with family in Savannah after 4 months

We frequently hear stories of lost pets finding their way back home. Sometimes they’re lost and mysteriously find their way after a few days. Sometimes they’re lost for a few years and magically reunite with their families in gleeful reunions. How often do you hear a story of a family pet being lost, then found, and returned to their family…7000 miles away?

Yep. Not often.

But now is the time you’ll hear one, and it’s quite a story.

Lucie Benevise lost her cat while stationed in South Korea at Camp Humphreys, where her husband was serving as a U.S. Army Medic, and was reunited with her last weekend at Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport.

Lucie fell in love with a stray kitten that was rescued by some exchange students in Busan, Korea in 2017 after seeing their post on Facebook. She convinced them to take a long cross-country bus ride to Seoul to bring the cat to her since they were trying to find her a forever home.

Seems Lucie and her cat were destined for each other from the beginning.

“In August of last year I got a visa to move to the US after I got married, but my cat Cauliflower didn’t have all her shots so she couldn’t come with me,” Lucie said as she was telling her story.

They found a foster family to keep her for two months until her husband could fly back to the U.S. with her.

Then, every pet owner’s nightmare happened.

“On the morning of their flight, my husband’s friend who was driving them to the airport opened the door of his car while she was roaming free inside…and she escaped, 3 hours before the flight,” Lucie said.

Cauli was lost at Camp Humphreys, which is a place she had never been to before and was unfamiliar with. So she couldn’t have possibly returned or found her way home.

Lucie made posts on local social media pages around the installation asking for help and promising a nice reward for her cat’s recovery.

“I think there must have been people looking for her every single day and leaving food out in different spots on base. My husband had no choice but to return to the US since he had to report at his new station in Georgia.”

Lucie and her husband, Devin kept making posts every week as a reminder that she was still missing, even offering a reward of $1500. They also sent some friends a wildlife trail camera to set up, in hopes of spotting her around the area.

I had hope that she would be found, and I knew that we would do absolutely everything we could to find her, including flying back to Korea to find her myself and hiring a missing cat detective.

“Several times a week someone would send us photos of stray calicos they’d seen on their walks, asking if they were Cauli, but it was never her.”

Every lead, every possibility was followed up on by friends still stationed at the military base. 

And then, on December 27th around 2:30am Lucie received a message and photos from people asking if the cat they were petting and feeding was hers.

It was Cauli.

Her cat had finally been found after missing for some 4 months.

But Lucie was now here, in Savannah, Georgia, 7,000 plus miles away from her beloved pet.

Cauli Benevise was stuck in South Korea while her family was here in Savannah, Georgia. Submitted photo

They searched and searched for direct flights to Atlanta, with no luck. Finally after trying to coordinate last minute flights and much frustration, Cauli got on a flight from Seoul to Atlanta. Lucie, Devin and their dog piled in the car and headed to Atlanta to meet Cauli at the airport. She was reunited with her family on Saturday afternoon.

It was an emotional reunion. Lucie’s tears, were now tears of joy.

“It feels so good to have her home. It was like part of our family was missing but now I can finally breathe after months of stress and sadness.”

How is Cauli doing after her cross-hemisphere journey?

“She has been amazing since she’s back, she’s so cuddly and playful. It’s almost like you can tell she understands what happened. She’s been lounging around and playing as if nothing ever even happened.”

Lucie extends her gratitude to the Camp Humphreys community and to the foster family who took care of Cauli and got her new health and export certificates so she could enter the U.S.  And, of course to the folks who brought her from Korea with them on their flight to Atlanta.

Cauli and her human Lucie are back together after 4 months, and 7,000 miles, all thanks to the vigilance of people who cared and a family who just wouldn’t give up on her.

Lucie hopes that by sharing her story it will inspire others to not give up on their pets, even during hardships. She encourages others to do everything in their power to keep their pets safe and loved, no matter the circumstances.

Lucie and Cauli Benevise. Submitted photo

 

Story by Gene Brancho and Charity Hayes for ExploreSavannahGA.com