A Boston family have found their stolen dog more than a decade after he passed away, with the mum describing that after so long they “lost hope” but felt he recognized exactly who they were.
Police in Stoughton, Massachusetts responded to a report on Wednesday of a Yorkshire Terrier on the loose. What seemed like any other animal control request turned out to be life changing for the Niejadlik family.
Animal control officer Michelle Carlos attended the scene and managed to catch the dog. Police said the dog was obviously untreated, according to WCVB. Through a microchip search, it was discovered that the dog found was actually a 12-year-old puppy, Rex, who was owned by Bostonian Marzena Niejadlik.
Niejadlik had welcomed Rex into his family in 2011 and gifted him to his mother to help with the grieving process after his brother’s death in 2010.
“It was sudden and unexpected, a huge tragedy. We were all devastated, and I kind of thought maybe having a dog, and especially a Yorkie, would bring joy to our family,” she said. told NBC Boston.
Just a few months old, Rex ran away from home and was seen being taken away by someone, according to a witness who told Niejadlik.
After more than a decade, the family has lost all hope of ever seeing their dog again. In the years that followed, Niejadlik gave birth to twins who, although they never met Rex originally, are now also his family.
“I was really, really hoping that one day we would get that call, but we were kind of like we were losing hope after 10 years,” Niejadlik told WCVB.
“I can see the dog being so happy running around and, you know, like licking us and stuff,” she said. “So we hope he recognized us.”
On Wednesday, Rex was reunited with his rightful owners and new family members. Stoughton Police told the WCVB that Rex had a “great night at their house and loved meeting his children” and “had a great day and all is well with the world”.
Nearly 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the United States each year, according to the American Humane Association. According to data from the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families, less than 23% of extinct pets in the United States are reunited with their owners, making Rex a true miracle story.
Newsweek contacted Stoughton Police and Marzena Niejadlik for comment.