MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man traveling down the Mississippi River on a boat was reunited with his faithful companion Wednesday after she was lost — and found — in downtown Memphis.
We told you last week about Kelly Phillips, who took to a life on the river with his dog Sapphire after he was diagnosed with sinus cancer two years ago. He had been docked on the Memphis riverfront for a few days.
Phillips said that Tuesday, he'd been doing some work on his boat and Sapphire had gone to walk on the cobblestones.
"And all of sudden she disappeared," Phillips said.
Blocks away in a building on Front Street, Diana Sanders, a digital marketing specialist at the Archer Malmo agency, was getting an email with a picture of a little black dog with the question, "Is she yours?"
Somehow, Sapphire had made her way up to Archer Malmo's fifth floor offices.
"She was the sweetest dog, she would literally smile at you," Sanders said. "And so well mannered, so we knew we had to help."
Archer Malmo is no stranger to pets in the office as the digital agency welcomes employees' dogs in the office on a regular basis.
So the team went to work reunite the sweet pup with her owner. They took Sapphire to the vet to see if she was chipped, took her on a walk, and put flyers up — with no success.
Sanders stepped up and offered her home.
Sapphire was a perfect house guest, Sanders said. She made herself at home charming people at red lights, snuggling up to her husband and going to bed without a fuss.
"I was really ready to keep her," Sanders said.
Wednesday morning, Phillips hit the streets again, searching for his boat mate.
After a little while, someone came running up to Phillips and showed him a photo of a lost dog poster.
"Oh yeah, that's her, that's Sapphire," Phillips said.
Sanders said she got to help reunite Sapphire with Phillips.
"And immediately when he started talking about her I knew that was his dog."
And he was definitely Sapphire's owner.
"Immediately she could smell him she was so excited," Sanders said. "To see the smile on his face and on Sapphire's face when they were reunited, it truly brought me to tears."
The team at Archer Malmo heard Phillips' story and were so touched they decided to help him on his journey.
Sanders and the Archer Malmo team decided to use their company's donation program to buy a needed generator and a new phone for Phillips, after he'd lost his Sunday.
Phillips said he plans to stick around Memphis until this weekend, when he'll move to his next city.
Sapphire will be by his side there, too.
"She's my buddy, she's like my entertainment," Phillips said. "I have to have somebody to talk to."