The year 2016 brought about an ordeal that any dog owner would dread, as Michael Joy faced the anguish of his three beloved dogs escaping and vanishing without a trace.
Although two of the dogs eventually found their way back home, there was no sign of Sam, a 4-month-old Lab cross, leaving a void that gnawed at Michael’s heart. The relentless quest to find Sam led Michael to scour local shelters and explore every nook and cranny in search of his cherished pup. His promise to his wife resonated in his determination: “Hey, I’m going to locate this puppy”. Michael diligently monitored shelters’ websites, refusing to give up hope.
Despite the passage of time, the Joy family eventually relocated to Kentucky, but the belief that Sam was out there, somewhere, never wavered. In an act of unwavering dedication, Michael frequently revisited their former home in Georgia, hoping to reunite with Sam.
Nearly five years elapsed, and still, Sam remained elusive. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a call from City Dogs Cleveland changed everything.
“She goes, ‘We have Sam'”, Michael recounted, his mind grappling with the improbable news. “In the back of my mind, I’m going, ‘This can’t be the same Sam!’ This is Ohio, this is almost to Michigan!”
Hopeful yet incredulous, Michael asked for a description of Sam. The shelter confirmed that the dog they had was indeed a lighter-haired canine. With elation and a sense of urgency, Michael inquired about Sam’s whereabouts and the soonest he could retrieve his long-lost companion.
Get tissues ready for this one…Sam was dropped off by police who found him. Kennel staff scanned & found a #microchip then contacted the number on file. Turns out, Sam was missing for 4 YEARS, from Georgia! His owner drove 8hrs to get Sam in an emotional #reunion.☺️#happyending pic.twitter.com/kGtaeN4iX1
— City Dogs Cleveland (@CityDogsCLE) April 15, 2021
The shelter staff had conducted a medical examination on Sam, during which they scanned for a microchip. This small device held the key to tracing Sam’s origins back to the Joy family.
Without hesitation, Michael embarked on an eight-hour journey to Ohio that very day. The anticipation was palpable as he awaited the moment when Sam would be reunited with him. Both Michael and Sam had undergone significant changes over the years, but their bond remained intact.
“As we get up there and I’m waiting for them to pull Sam out, you can just see the anticipation on my face. I was like a kid on Christmas”, Michael recalled, his heart racing. Sam’s reaction was equally exuberant, as he couldn’t contain his joy. His tail wagged furiously, and he leaped into his dad’s arms, the years apart melting away in that heartwarming moment of reunion.