WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — Eight years after she last saw her dog, a Waukegan middle school teacher has learned Koki is alive – in Hawaii.

Sheryl Jans said her friend made her pull over her car before telling her about a week and a half ago that her dog had been found.

“‘Koki is in the Kona Humane Shelter. You need to call Hawaii. Koki was hit by a car.’ I’m like, ‘Koki? I haven’t seen Koki for many years,’” Jans said.

Shelter workers found a microchip on Koki, which led back to Jans, an 8th grade English teacher at Abbott Elementary School in Waukegan.

Jans said she suspects her ex-partner – who got custody of the dog after their breakup – took Koki to Hawaii and abandoned her.

She said she kept herself listed as Koki’s owner on her pet’s microchip, in the small hope the Boston Terrier would turn up one day.

“I was like, ‘Well, nothing will happen,’ but you know, just on that one chance, the one percent chance that anything did happen, they would contact me, and then that’s what happened,” she said.

She said Koki has been through a lot, and she can’t wait until her pooch gets home.

“I have to protect Koki, and I need to get her home, and make sure that she’s taken care of by me,” Jans said.

Jans said Koki is healthy, but – as a snub-nosed dog – can’t fly in the cargo hold, and only one airline (Hawaiian Air) will let her stay in the cabin for the flight to the mainland.

So she’s started a fundraiser through GiveForward, hoping to get $5,200 in donations to pick up her 11-year-old pooch.

“When it posted in Hawaii, some people have given $300. One lady gave $350,” she said. “It’s just crazy.”

Since the fundraising effort started last week, supporters have donated more than $2,400 to Jans’ “Get Koki Home” page on GiveForward.

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