Although the dog had been microchipped, the information on it hadn't been updated since 2009, and animal shelter officials initially weren't confident about reaching the dog's correct owner

By Maria Pasquini
December 05, 2019 05:19 PM
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Reunited and it feels so good!

This week, Crystal Fentress of Oklahoma was reunited with her dog Lela after 10 years apart.

On Dec. 3, the boxer was brought into the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare shelter, and although officials noticed the dog had been microchipped, they initially weren’t confident that they’d be able to reach the dog’s correct owner.

“Things like this don’t typically happen,” Morgan Epperson, a representative for the shelter, tells PEOPLE, explaining that the microchip information “hadn’t been updated since 2009.”

And at first, Lela’s owner was confused to get the call, as she “didn’t have a missing dog,” Epperson wrote in a Facebook post.

“She then asked if the dog’s name was Lela,” Epperson continued, adding that afterward, the owner “instantly broke down” and made the drive to pick up the pooch the following day.

Crystal Fentress and Lela
Morgan Epperson

According to ABC Affiliate KOCO News 5, after moving back to Oklahoma from Texas, Fentress, who was doing home health work, moved into an apartment that didn’t allow pets.

Although one of her patients took the dog in, Fentress eventually lost contact with them, and had no idea the dog had been lost.

Crystal Fentress and Lela
Morgan Epperson
Lela back home
Morgan Epperson

Documenting the emotional reunion on Instagram, Epperson posted a clip in which Fentress kneels down on the floor as Lela walks out to her — and a big hug follows.

“Lela is now home bound!!! After TEN YEARS of her momma missing her, she finally got reunited. All thanks to a little microchip that got implanted ten years ago,” Epperson wrote alongside the heartwarming footage. “My heart is so full of love and happiness. I love what I do, even the heartbreaking parts. This truly has been such an amazing journey.”

Lela back home
Morgan Epperson

“The phone call alone brought me to tears,” Epperson tells PEOPLE of the emotional reunion.

“I don’t know how I would react if my dog was found 10 years later, more than two hours away,” Epperson adds, noting that before leaving with her dog, Fentress gave her a hug and “told me she was so thankful.”

“It was impossible for me not to cry at that point,” she continues. “I’m just thankful for microchips.”