Fourth of July, the day many pets go missing, is the day Dodger finally came home.
Two years ago, the smiley gray-and-white pooch disappeared from his home with the Frausto family. As time passed, it seemed less and less likely the canine would end up back in the arms of his loving owners.
But then fate took the wheel and the remote control. The Fraustos happened to be watching Fox 11’s Good Day LA on July 4 during the news show’s segment on Best Friends Animal Society‘s “Pay it Forward” adoption campaign, a program in which animal lovers cover the adoption fees for shelter pets, so it is easier for the animals to find homes.
Among the adoptable pets Best Friends Animal Society brought along on the segment was a dog named Butler, who had been at the shelter close to two years waiting to find a forever home. The Fraustos instantly recognized Butler as their dog Dodger, and went to the Best Friends shelter in Los Angeles that same day to reunite with the dog.
Once the pet parents and Butler/Dodger saw each other again, after two long years, there was no denying they belonged together.
“The reunion was so sweet. His mom fell to her knees right when we walked in with Butler and cuddled him while sobbing with joy. When his dad called ‘Dodger,’ Butler came running over to him and sat right in front of him, smiling. Butler/Dodger even remembered his old tricks!” Mandy Stern, an administrative specialist at Best Friends, tells PEOPLE.
The re-adoption was an emotional moment for much of the shelter staff, who had become close to Dodger in his close to two years at the facility.
“We are so thrilled that he was able to find his way home to his original family! They came, hopeful, and showed us all there pictures of him since he was a puppy, and there was no doubt it was him. He remembered them instantly and ran to their arms. Many happy tears fell for the owners and dedicated staff and volunteers,” Leah Lindamood, the Dog Care and Behavior Lead at Best Friends, said.
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Dodger — who loves to cuddle and sit in laps — went through several adoptions that didn’t work out, the most recent being a month ago, before the Fraustos spotted the dog on TV, making this reunion even more miraculous.