EDGEWATER — Prince Charming ran away from his owners three years ago and, as the years marched on without him, they hoped the pug was at least doing OK.
From the looks of things, he did just fine.
The the long-lost pug, who was found Monday in Rogers Park by a police officer and returned to his family, packed on a few extra pounds since 2011.
"Just shock," said Cristina Parrilla, 35, after learning that the officer had found Prince Charming tied to a pole in Rogers Park. "Just shock that after all this time he was found — and overweight. I was just laughing."
Since Prince Charming ran away, Parrilla and her daughter had moved to Washington, D.C. But she said there was always hope the now 8-year-old pug would be found.
Sure enough, on Monday, the pup was handed over to Edgewater no-kill shelter Felines & Canines, which scanned an implanted microchip containing the contact information for Parrilla.
Parrilla's mother, who still lives in Chicago, came right away to claim him.
"The woman was hysterical," shelter employee Kelly Thompson said, adding that Prince Charming was in good health.
Perhaps too good.
"There wasn't a day that he was roaming the street," she said, referring to his ample weight. "He's a chunka-hunk."
The shelter captured a cell-phone video of the reunion.
"It's grandma!" said Parrilla's mother, Linda, in a high-pitched, baby-talk voice in the video. "You remember me! Hi fatzo! ... Where you been?"
But it wasn't clear where Prince Charming had been all these years. And it also wasn't the first time he ran away.
"He's a runner," Parrilla said, recounting the time Prince Charming went missing in 2009 and wasn't returned for nearly a year. "This dog, he's a true Chicagoan. He loves to be out and about and in the streets."
The second and final time he ran away in 2011, she said, "It just was like, OK, he's gone again. There were times he would run and we would find him down the street. Someone would always see him. But this time I looked around and nobody had seen him. I assumed someone just snatched him up."
Now, three years later, Parrilla and her daughter will be reunited with Prince Charming at a family get-together in Ohio.
"We always thought about him and hoped that he was doing OK," she said. "Of course you want the best. It was our dog. It was my daughter's dog.
"He always had a place in our hearts; we always hoped he was OK."
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