When his beloved dog Sam vanished during the summer from Fort Benning, Georgia, Michael Joy never thought he’d see him again. The wish would, however, come true thanks to a recent call from Cleveland, which was made more than 800 miles distant, almost five years later.
Sam, a Labrador Retriever and Siberian Husky mix who was 6 years old, died. Sam was lost to Michael Joy, a retired Army medic who now resides in Clarksville, Tennessee. When the second dog he had, who passed away in December, he also had two other dogs, thus Sam’s death hit him considerably harder.
“My other dog passed away, and we were very close,” Joy said. The last thing that connected me to him was that.
He and his wife then adopted a new puppy, whom they named Sam, and welcomed him into the family two weeks later.
The absence of Sam persisted despite the addition of the new four-legged member of the household. Joy was remembering things a few weeks back and presenting pictures of his original Sam when he was a puppy to his wife and kids. After that, everything changed when a call from Cleveland arrived two days later.
“When I first received the call, my reaction was, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have never been to Ohio. Are you certain that he is my dog? Describe him for me, please. Then she added that he had light brown hair, to which I replied, “Wait a minute.” Joy remarked, “You can’t be referring to the same Sam.
On April 2, Cleveland Division of Police discovered Sam as a stray and brought him to Cleveland’s Animal Care & Control, City Dogs Cleveland, which is more than 800 miles from the Army installation where Sam went AWOL. After performing a medical examination, giving him a shot, and scanning him for a microchip, staff members called Joy to let her know who the owner is.
To allow the Joy family to travel the 8-hour distance, City Dogs Cleveland offered to extend the standard hold period to one week, but it wasn’t necessary. They were driving north the following morning in their automobile.
Joy said, “I was overcome with emotion the instant I saw him. My daughter and wife both started crying. My own emotional receptivity isn’t particularly strong. For 20 years I worked as a medic and witnessed a lot. Yet upon seeing him, I nearly started crying. Seeing him made me very happy.
Although Joy wasn’t immediately recognized by Sam, it didn’t take long. He was stuck to my hip and is still there at this very moment, Joy said, once he started smelling and hearing me.
In a press release, kennel manager Michelle Harvanek said that one of the best parts of her job at Cleveland Animal Care & Control is finding loving owners for lost pets. “We take great pride in our work immediately tracking microchips and repeatedly attempting to get in touch with owners. Furthermore, we give dog microchipping a lot of attention. Whether they were previously chipped or not, every dog that leaves our care through adoption or return to owner has one implanted.
This is a story that makes all of our effort worthwhile since it is so heartwarming.
Sam took about a day to get used to living at home with Joy once more, but now he’s back to the adoring, content, and polite dog he was five years ago.
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