In 2016, Michael Joy experienced the nightmare that every dog owner fears. His three beloved dogs ran off and disappeared. Although two of the dogs returned, Sam, a 4-month-old Lab mix, remained missing. Michael searched every local shelter but to no avail.
“I’m going to find this dog,” Michael told his wife. He continued to follow the shelters’ website just in case Sam appeared. His determination never wavered.
Despite ultimately relocating to Kentucky, Michael never lost faith that Sam was still alive and well. He frequently visited their former Georgia house, hoping that Sam might still be there.
Despite almost five years of searching, Michael had been unable to locate Sam. Then one day, out of the blue, Michael received a call from City Dogs Cleveland. “We have Sam,” the caller said. Michael was incredulous, thinking, “This can’t be the same Sam!”
“It’s Ohio, folks! This is like on the way to Michigan,” Michael exclaimed.
He asked the caller to describe Sam and arranged to pick him up as soon as possible when he learned that Sam was a lighter-haired dog. The shelter had discovered Sam’s microchip during a medical examination and was able to track down the Joys as a result.
On the same day, Michael made an eight-hour journey to Ohio, hoping that Sam would recognize him. Over the years, both Michael and Sam had undergone significant changes.
As they waited for Sam to be brought out, Michael’s face was filled with excitement, like a kid at Christmas. Sam shared in his dad’s excitement, bouncing all over him and wagging his tail nonstop.
Be prepared with tissues for this one. Sam was delivered by the police after they located him. The kennel staff ran a scan and discovered a microchip, which led them to call the number listed. Sam had been missing from Georgia for four years! Michael traveled eight hours to retrieve him, making it an emotional reunion.
It’s safe to assume that Michael won’t be letting Sam out of his sight again anytime soon.