Puppy heads home after 2,400-mile US road trip

SEATTLE - A puppy called Penny could be reunited with her worry-stricken US owners by week's end after she went on a nearly 2,400-mile road trip that took her to an Iowa truck stop and a Pennsylvania pet hospital, her family said on Tuesday.

The floppy-eared Vizsla has one more stop before returning home to Washington state. She has to travel from Pennsylvania, where she has been in foster care, to the District of Columbia for a free ride home from US carrier Alaska Airlines, her owners said in a message on Saturday on a Facebook page devoted to finding her.

"When she went missing, we thought she ran off and we were never going to see her again. We're just happy knowing she's alive," Kendra Brown, Penny's owner, told Pittsburgh broadcaster WPXI. "I'm sure if she could talk, she'd have quite a few adventures to talk about."

Penny's cross-country voyage began on Dec. 19 when she got loose from her owners and a truck driver picked her up while she was wandering in her hometown of Royal City, a tiny community in eastern Washington, her owners said.

"We were able to track him down and when he found out we knew he had her, he dropped her off at a truck stop in Des Moines, Iowa," her family said.

Already some 1,600 miles from home, Penny somehow ended up days later in the care of a veterinarian at a pet hospital in West Township, Pennsylvania, a message on Dec. 24 said. Banfield Pet Hospital confirmed Penny's Washington state roots by scanning the dog's micro chip, a spokeswoman said.

The dog has been staying in foster care and the family hopes to have her back in Washington by the end of the week, they said on Facebook.

Alaska Airlines said it learned about the dog on Dec. 26 and is "flying Penny home complimentary" from a District of Columbia area airport to Seattle on Jan. 2, a spokeswoman said.

Penny's owners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.