When Evanston Animal Shelter canine director Tanya Ohanian got a call about a dog found nearby in Cook County, Illinois, she thought the pup was just a local stray.
What Ohanian didn’t know was that this dog had been taken from her family, and had spent the past five years trying to get back home.
Safely at the shelter, staff scanned the pup for a microchip, but the information they found listed wasn’t current. They thought it might be a dead end.
But soon, with the help of a local organization called Microchip Hunters, the shelter miraculously obtained a more detailed account of the dog’s past.
The new information revealed that the pup wasn’t a nameless stray. The dog’s name was Dottie, and she had a family who’d been missing her for five years.
Soon enough, Ohanian was on the phone with Dottie’s family, telling them the amazing news — their best friend was back, and she was waiting for them.
Dottie’s dad, George Loving, had spent so much time missing his dog that he couldn’t believe the news.
“I cried many nights about it,” Loving told The Dodo.
Now, shockingly, she was back in his arms.
“We were all very, very happy,” Ohanian said.
Dottie’s family wasn’t sure if the pup would recognize them after so much time, but it was soon clear that Dottie knew exactly who they were.
“There was never hesitation,” Ohanian said. “It was just beautiful.”
You can watch the moment Dottie reunites with a member of her family here:
Even shelter staff couldn’t help but shed a tear as they watched the dog immediately relax into the touch of her loved one.
“It was emotional for all of us,” Ohanian said. “I think we were all in tears.”
It’s still unclear what Dottie’s journey for the past five years involved. Her family may never know exactly what happened while she was gone, but that doesn’t matter now — they’re just thrilled she’s finally home.