It’s always heartbreaking when a beloved pet goes missing. You search everywhere, but sometimes they’re just nowhere to be found.
After a while, it’s natural to give up and stop holding out hope that you’ll ever see your dog again. But it’s also important to remember that sometimes, miracles do happen, and dogs have been known to show up months or even years after they disappear.
That was the case recently, after one man who never gave up hope reunited with his best pal… after four long years apart.
Michael Joy, from Fort Benning is the owner of a dog named Sam. In 2016, Michael was working as a military recruiter, a job that took him away from home quite often, according to WUSA9.
But after returning from one trip, he was heartbroken to discover that Sam was missing. He searched everywhere, contacting all the local shelters, but Sam was nowhere to be found.
However, he continued his search — even years after the dog went missing. “I never stopped,” he told WUSA. “I always, I even still follow the shelters’ pages just in case he would’ve shown up.”
The search continued, even after he and his family moved from Georgia to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
“I came to Campbell and I kept looking, I kept going back-and-forth, also I went there three or four times after I moved here,” Michael told WTVF. “Just maybe he would’ve shown up down there.”
Four years passed since Sam first disappeared. But then just a few weeks ago on April 2, he got the call he had been waiting for all along — and curiously, it came all the way from Cleveland.
“I get this phone call and I’m like, Cleveland? I’m not gonna answer this!” he told WUSA.
But to his amazement, it was a Cleveland shelter giving the news that they had found Sam. Michael couldn’t believe it — not only that Sam had been found after all this time, but in a completely different state.
But it turned out Sam had been found by Cleveland Police, and a microchip identified Michael as the owner.
While Cleveland was an 8-9 hour drive away, Michael did not hesitate to drive down the next day to reunite with his old friend.
“I was like, man. This is going to be one of the best moments of my life, you know, besides my kids, getting married and retiring from the Army,” he said.
For both the man and the dog, it was an emotional reunion. Michael was worried Sam wouldn’t recognize him after all this time (he has a beard now) but it was instantly clear that the bond was still there.
“As soon as he turned that corner, I was like, ‘Oh my God. That is him,’” Michael said.
“I can’t stop smiling. I love Sam. Sam is my best friend. And most dogs are better than humans, in my opinion.”
“It was like coming back home from a deployment and seeing your family for like a first time in a year,” he told WTVF.\
Sam is finally back home where he belongs, and Michael says they’re as inseparable as ever: “He’s my family. I’ll tell everybody that. My dogs are my family,” he told WUSA.
We’re so glad Sam is finally home safe after being missing for so long.
It’s an inspiring story, but also an important reminder to get your pets microchipped. It’s a free, painless service that can help vets identify you as the owner in case your pet ever goes missing — even after years apart!