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The Dog Who Waited: Heartwarming Reunions with long lost Dogs

The Dog Who Waited: Heartwarming Reunions with long lost Dogs

Scott’s Story: A Bittersweet Goodbye

I loved my first Border Collie, Drift, with every fiber of my being. We were inseparable, working together on the farm and taking long walks through the countryside. But as Drift matured, I started to notice that he was becoming increasingly anxious about any kind of change.

You see, Drift was deaf in one ear – a condition that often goes undiagnosed because dogs can still hear well enough to get by. But that meant he couldn’t locate sounds properly, which tended to make him nervous and on edge. And with my hectic schedule, frequent farm sitters, and a revolving door of visitors, our home was anything but predictable.

I could see Drift struggling to cope, and it just broke my heart. As much as I adored him, I knew I needed to find Drift a home where he could thrive – one with a reliable routine and the freedom to work sheep in the same fields every day. After a long search, I finally found the perfect place for my beloved Drift.

When the time came to say goodbye, I sobbed uncontrollably, pulling over on the drive home because I could hardly see through my tears. But three days later, I stopped by to check on Drift, and the sight that greeted me warmed my soul. Drift came bounding over, tail wagging furiously. As he reached his new owner, he spun around 180 degrees, leaning against the man’s leg and beaming up at me, as if to say “This is my new human, and he’s wonderful!” In that moment, I knew I had made the right choice, even though it had shattered my heart.

Pebbles Finds Her Forever Home

A few years ago, my friend Maggie took in a lovely German Shepherd named Pebbles as a foster. Maggie had nursed Pebbles back to health from several medical conditions, and before long, Pebbles had become a permanent fixture in her home.

Maggie reached out to me, concerned about how Pebbles might react to a visit from one of her previous owners, a woman named Beth. Beth had been forced to give up Pebbles due to a difficult situation, and she was yearning to see her beloved dog again. Maggie wanted to know if such a visit might upset Pebbles.

I advised Maggie that it would likely depend on how settled and comfortable Pebbles was in her new home. If Pebbles seemed relaxed and content, the visit might be a positive experience for both her and Beth. Maggie took the risk, and I’m so glad she did.

The reunion was a heartwarming success. Pebbles clearly recognized Beth and was happy to see her. But when it was time for Beth to leave, Pebbles showed no signs of distress. In fact, the visit ended up strengthening the bond between Pebbles and Maggie, as Maggie gained valuable insights by observing how Pebbles interacted with her former owner.

Reunited and It Feels So Good

As a long-time foster parent for huskies, I’ve had the opportunity to witness many reunions between former owners and their beloved pets. While I always wait at least six months before arranging any visits, I’ve found that the outcomes can vary greatly depending on the individual dog and their level of comfort in their new home.

Take the case of Alice, a 9-year-old dog I adopted from a neighbor down the street. Alice’s male owner continued to take her for weekly outings – walks, car rides, and games of fetch – for the rest of her life. Alice would wait eagerly by the door, knowing her friend was on his way, and she always came home tired but happy. She seemed to have no trouble maintaining her bond with him while also fully integrating into our family.

Then there’s the story of a long-term foster dog who was eventually adopted. After a few weeks in his new home, I brought him to one of my training classes, where his previous owner happened to be. The dog was clearly delighted to see his old friend, keeping his eyes glued to the person and trying to follow them out the door. But by the second week, that distress had dissipated, and he was completely content to remain with his new family.

I think the key is to pay close attention to the dog’s overall demeanor and level of integration into the new home. If they seem relaxed and secure, a visit from a former owner is likely to be a positive experience – an opportunity for the dog to show off their happy new life. But if the dog is still in transition, it’s best to wait until they’ve had ample time to settle in before risking any disruption to their routine.

A Bittersweet Adoption

My neighbors once took in a German Shepherd named Robbie when his previous owner, a colleague of my husband’s, could no longer care for him due to her husband’s declining health. When they brought Robbie to our home the next day, he immediately jumped up on the couch, curled up, and went to sleep – a clear sign that he felt at home.

Over the next few years, Robbie’s previous owner came to visit him a handful of times. Each time, Robbie greeted her warmly, but it was evident that he had fully bonded with my neighbors and had no desire to leave. He seemed to recognize her, but his loyalty now lay with the family who had become his forever home.

Sadly, Robbie passed away at the ripe old age of 16 and a half. While it was a bittersweet farewell, I’m grateful that my neighbors were able to provide him with such a loving and fulfilling life in his golden years. Sometimes, the best gift we can give our beloved pets is the freedom to thrive in a more suitable environment, even if it means parting ways.

The Power of Scent and Memory

As someone who has raised guide dog puppies, I’ve had the unique experience of seeing dogs transition between their various “homes” – the puppy raiser’s house, the training center, and ultimately, their forever home with a person who needs their assistance.

One of the most fascinating aspects of these reunions is observing the dogs’ reactions. When I’ve brought a former puppy back for a visit, they are undoubtedly thrilled to see me. Their tails wag, their eyes light up, and they shower me with affection. But there’s never any confusion or distress when it’s time for me to leave. They simply return their focus to their new person, content in the knowledge that this is where they belong now.

I think the dogs’ ability to compartmentalize their relationships and loyalties speaks volumes about the power of scent and memory. Even if they have a deep and lasting bond with one person, they are able to form new attachments without feeling torn or betrayed. The scent and presence of their former caregiver triggers fond memories, but they know in their hearts that their new home is where they are meant to be.

It’s a humbling and beautiful thing to witness. As much as I might miss those special pups, I take comfort in knowing that they are thriving and serving their purpose, all while keeping a little piece of me in their hearts.

A Bittersweet Farewell

Just a few months ago, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to rehome my own dog, a sensitive husky mix named Finna. Finna had come to me as a foster when she was just 8 weeks old, and over the course of the next year and a half, she had become a beloved member of my family.

But the truth was, I just couldn’t give Finna the life she deserved. As a city-dweller without a yard, I struggled to provide her with the freedom and exercise she craved. And with my hectic schedule of school and work, I worried that I wasn’t able to give her the attention and mental stimulation she needed to thrive.

When the time came to say goodbye, I was a wreck. Finna had been my constant companion, my hiking buddy, my furry soulmate. The thought of her not being part of my daily life anymore was devastating. But I knew in my heart that she deserved better.

Fortunately, I was able to find Finna the perfect new home – a spacious suburban property with another canine companion and an active, outdoorsy family who could give her all the love and adventure she could ever want. As I watched Finna bound into her new life, I couldn’t help but feel a bittersweet mix of joy and sorrow.

I’m sure that if Finna and I were to cross paths again, she would greet me with the same unbridled enthusiasm as always. But I also know that her loyalty now lies with her new family, and that’s exactly as it should be. Sometimes, the greatest act of love we can give our pets is the freedom to find their true happiness, even if it means letting them go.

A Lesson in Compassion

The story of my neighbor’s dog, Robbie, is a powerful reminder that sometimes, rehoming a pet is the most compassionate choice we can make. Robbie’s previous owner had fallen on hard times, struggling with chronic depression and bipolar disorder. While she adored Robbie, she simply couldn’t provide him with the care and attention he deserved.

When she reached out to my husband, asking if we could take Robbie in, it was a no-brainer. Robbie settled into our home immediately, and over the next few years, he blossomed into a happy, well-adjusted dog. His previous owner came to visit a handful of times, but it was clear that Robbie had found his forever family.

What struck me most was the grace and understanding that Robbie’s owner displayed throughout the process. She knew that Robbie deserved better than the life she could give him, and she was willing to put his needs ahead of her own. That kind of selflessness is truly admirable, and it’s a testament to the depth of her love for Robbie.

While the initial separation must have been heartbreaking, I like to think that Robbie’s owner found comfort in seeing how happy and loved he was in his new home. And I’m sure that every time she saw the joy in Robbie’s eyes when we were together, it reaffirmed that she had made the right choice, even if it came at a great personal cost.

Rehoming a beloved pet is never an easy decision, but it’s one that sometimes requires us to put the needs of the animal first. Robbie’s story is a powerful reminder that with compassion, empathy, and a willingness to let go, we can ensure that our furry friends find the happiness and fulfillment they deserve, even if it’s not with us.

A Heartwarming Reunion

Just a few weeks ago, I received the most wonderful news – my old foster dog, Vardis, had been reunited with his long-lost sister, Brunch! It’s a story that warms my heart and reminds me of the incredible bond that can exist between canine siblings.

Vardis first came into my care when he was just a pup, struggling with a serious case of pneumonia. But with the love and care of the team at One Tail At A Time, he made a full recovery and was ready to find his forever home. When I met Vardis, I was immediately intrigued by his unique appearance – a mix of Golden Retriever, American Bully, and Bulldog that we affectionately dubbed a “Golden Bully.”

It wasn’t until Vardis was living with his second foster mom, Jessica, that the real surprise came. Through the Embark Relative Finder feature, we discovered that Vardis had a long-lost sister – and not just any sister, but his literal littermate, Brunch! The two families arranged a playdate, and the moment Vardis and Brunch saw each other, it was clear they shared an unbreakable bond.

“It was so fun to watch Vardis and Brunch reunite,” Jessica said. “They were both very comfortable with each other from the start!” The two dogs immediately hit it off, playing together and sharing snacks. Despite having been separated for years, their special connection was undeniable.

The heartwarming reunion was a testament to the power of family and the enduring bonds that can form between canine siblings. I’m overjoyed that Vardis and Brunch have been given the chance to reconnect, and I know their story will inspire others to explore the wonders of dog DNA testing and the joy of reuniting long-lost loved ones.

In the end, Vardis’ tale is a reminder that true love and belonging transcend time and distance. Even after years apart, some connections are simply meant to be. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two furry best friends.


As I reflect on all these stories of reunions and rehoming, I’m struck by the incredible resilience and adaptability of our canine companions. Whether it’s Pebbles welcoming back her former owner with open paws, or Robbie seamlessly transitioning to his new family, these dogs have an uncanny ability to forge deep bonds while also maintaining their own sense of self.

Of course, not every reunion or rehoming experience is a fairytale ending. The process can be heartbreaking, both for the pet and the owner. But when it’s done with compassion, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to the well-being of the animal, the results can be truly inspiring.

For me, the key is to always prioritize the needs of the dog, even if it means making the difficult decision to let them go. As much as it pains me to imagine life without my furry friends, I know that sometimes the greatest act of love is giving them the freedom to thrive, even if it’s not by our side.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation, remember the lessons of these dogs and their owners. Stay attuned to your pet’s emotional and physical needs, be willing to make tough choices, and never underestimate the power of a loving reunion, even if it’s not the one you had envisioned. With a little bit of patience, understanding, and a whole lot of heart, you just might witness a reunion as heartwarming as the ones I’ve had the privilege of witnessing.

And who knows – maybe one day, you’ll find yourself on the other side of that reunion, gazing into the eyes of a long-lost furry friend and feeling that unbreakable bond once more. After all, as the saying goes, love has no age limit. So hold onto hope, and always be ready to welcome home your beloved companion, no matter how long the journey.

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