Lifestyle Pets Florida Woman Reunites with Dog Missing for Months After Spotting the Pet on Facebook The Sunshine State Westie Rescue used this reunion as an opportunity to urge pet owners to microchip their pets and to make sure the microchips are registered By Vanessa Etienne Vanessa Etienne Twitter Vanessa Etienne is an Emerging Content Writer-Reporter for PEOPLE. Prior to joining in April 2021, she served as a reporter for Men's Health Magazine and BET Digital after freelancing for publications such as The New York Times and Everyday Health. Originally from northern Virginia, Vanessa is a proud Haitian American with a love for R&B music and mental health topics. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor's in Communication and Public Relations before earning her master's degree in Journalism from the City University of New York. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 22, 2021 01:47 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: wptv news/ youtube A Florida woman had a sweet reunion with her 16-year-old dog after he went missing for nearly a year. Lisa Raulerson of West Palm Beach has had her dog Sparky for close to 16 years. From family vacations to supporting her through her husband's death 11 years ago, Sparky is a big part of Raulerson's life, the dog owner told WPTV. In October 2020, Raulerson accidentally left a gate open on a rainy day, and her beloved pet got out and disappeared. "Before we noticed it he was gone," Raulerson said. 3-Legged Dog Reunited with Owner Almost a Year After Going Missing: 'It's Like She Never Left' "We looked for a week or two, just straight looking for him," she added to the outlet, noting that after posting flyers and offering rewards with no response, Raulerson and her daughter assumed the dog had died because of his old age. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. However, nearly a year later, the woman came across a photo of Sparky on a Facebook post from Sunshine State Westie Rescue, explaining that the dog came under their care after getting picked up by animal control. The shelter posted a photo of Sparky after finding him as a stray, dirty and matted. Raulerson told WPTV that she immediately recognized the dog as her own, called the shelter, and went to pick him up. "I feel like a void in my heart was filled. I really do. I never thought I'd see him again but here he is. I wish he could talk," the pet parent said. Dog Missing for Two Years Reunited with Family After Owner Spotted Pet on TV News Segment Following the reunion, the shelter shared a post telling others to "never give up" if their dog goes missing. The post also included simple steps pet owners can take now to help ensure an easy reunion if their furry friend ever goes missing. "Keep your posts about your missing dog updated, keep the information with the shelter up to date. You just never know what could happen. MOST IMPORTANTLY, microchip your dog or cat, and register that chip! That is the best chance of getting your dog back home," the statement said. Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. The shelter also noted that Sparky was microchipped but, because the chip wasn't registered, the animal shelter did not have the information it needed to reunite the canine with his family. After confirming with paperwork that Sparky belonged to Raulerson, the shelter sent the dog back home again.