Dog stolen 8 years ago finally reunited with his family for Christmas

Christmas is a time for spending time with your loved ones, and for some people, a time for miracles. That was definitely true for one woman, who got an unexpected and long-hoped-for wish just in time for the holidays.

Julia Nemeth, from Barberton, Ohio, raised her pit bull terrier mix Junior from just a puppy. Over the years they became inseparable best friends; she described her dog as “friendly, devoted, and smart,” capable of learning commands.

Sadly, their close friendship was cut short in 2012, when Junior was stolen during a home invasion.

Julia was devastated. Years passed, but she never gave up hope on trying to find her dog, continuing to search online for him in lost-and-found groups. She believed she found Junior on Craigslist, but the seller never responded.

Junior, in fact, was still out there looking for her too — and in 2018, was surrendered to the Humane Society of Summit County.

According to a press release by the shelter, Junior, who they called “Buddy,” received health treatments and was put up for adoption, although none of them stuck.

“Buddy was a staff and volunteer favorite, known for loving chew toys, but was aloof with visitors,” HSSC wrote. “He was adopted three times over the years, but none the families were the right fit.”

Maybe it was because Junior/Buddy sensed his original owner was still out there waiting for him, even though they had spent years apart.

But he would still have to wait — while Julia continued to look, her search never lined up with Junior’s time at the HSSC. He was in the care of the shelter on and off for two-and-a-half years.

But then finally, a miracle: in December, Julia finally found Junior’s photo on the HSSC website, and the shelter realized it was a match.

Julia drove down to see her old dog, and though it took some time, Junior realized who she was.

“During the initial meeting, Junior was a bit distracted but instantly connected with Julia, licking his long lost owner’s face as if there was a glimmer of a memory,” the HSSC wrote. “She tried some of the hand signal commands she had taught Junior years ago and he obeyed them perfectly.”

Julia took Junior, now 9-years-old, back home that same day, after eight long years away.

“I keep asking my husband to pinch me because I can’t believe this is real,” Julia said. “I can’t believe Junior is home. He carried me through challenges of my life and to have him back means everything to me.”

Best of all, the timing meant Junior would be home just in time for Christmas. The long-lost dog was happily embraced by the whole family.

“Julia tells us Junior likes to snuggle on the couch on the laps of his family members,” the HSSC wrote. “He warmed up to the children and the family’s other dog quickly. He still loves chew toys and balls, and plays catch with Julia’s son in their big backyard.”

What a beautiful story. It’s a reminder that miracles can happen, so never lose hope when a dog goes missing!

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