Shy shelter dog finally smiles while reuniting with his owner after three years apart

It’s always heartbreaking when a pet disappears. You search everywhere, but after a certain point you give up hope of ever finding them again, as painful as it is.

But sometimes, miracles happen. We’ve seen many stories of dogs returning to their owners unexpectedly, after months or even years apart.

Now, one recent, beautiful reunion is another reminder to never give up hope.

For over three years, a dog named Roscoe had roamed around a neighborhood as a stray fending for himself — until he ended up at the Washington County, TN Animal Shelter.

“Some of the neighbors kept him fed, and he mostly just minded his own business, and kept to his self,” the shelter wrote on Facebook. “Until someone called in and complained about a dog running at large, and that’s how he ended up here.”

But even after taking Roscoe in, the shelter workers noticed that he still kept his guard up, and was unusually shy and reserved.

“The entire time he was here he was very timid, very reserved … it was like he didn’t have a personality,” Tammy Davis, the shelter’s director, told The Dodo. “He wasn’t acting like a dog.”

“He didn’t want to be comforted by us, he didn’t want to be touched — it was like he was kind of just existing. There was no emotion or excitement no matter what we did.”

Roscoe spent over six months at the shelter, and in that time they didn’t have a breakthrough.

“He has not formed any attachment to people and doesn’t act like he wants to,” the shelter wrote. “He is not aggressive. He is just very cautious. He will take treats from people he is familiar with, but will move away immediately.”

Still, the shelter hoped that Roscoe could still find a home with someone who could get him to open up. They posted Roscoe’s story on Facebook, warning that he may never be a very affectionate pet.

“Even though he’s not the most outgoing dog, and it may be hard to find him somewhere, we’re going to post him and we’re just going to be honest,” Tammy told The Dodo.

But to everyone’s surprise, someone actually did reach out looking to take Roscoe home: His original owner!

The shelter got a message from someone saying that Roscoe was his dog who had been missing for three years.

It turns out Roscoe’s name was actually “Runt.” The man visited the shelter to see his dog again — and something incredible happened.

Everyone at the shelter watched as Runt — the dog they had known for months as a detached, unhappy dog — suddenly lit up at the sight of his old friend.

“The rest of us backed away and let the gentleman in there with Roscoe and it was just amazing,” Tammy said. “It was like something clicked and he was like, ‘This is my person, my daddy.’”

The change was stunning—all of a sudden Runt was smiling, wagging his tail, thrilled to be reunited with his owner after all these years.

“In the six months the dog was here I’d never seen him wag his tail, never seen the dog jump up, and we were never able to love on him,” Tammy said. “So it was obvious that this was his owner, it just took him a few minutes to realize who it was, and then he knew instantly.”

The beautiful moment was also captured on video, so can watch the heartwarming reunion for yourself:

It’s a very happy ending for everyone, and a reminder to never give up hope on your missing pets.

“What an unexpected but so very awesome ending!” the shelter wrote. “If your pet is missing, Never Give Up Hope! This is why we do what we do, everyday.”

We’re so glad Runt is back where he belongs — and has his smile back! We know he’ll be very happy for now on! Share this incredible story!