NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An Orange County man had all but given up hope on finding his dog after two years, but believe it or not, the dog was found safe – all the way in Florida.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Giuseppe DiBella was devastated when his then 6-month-old toy fox terrier, Nika, was stolen from his Newburgh home more than two years ago.

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“It was one of the most horrible days of my life,” DiBella said.

But just last week, officials said Nika found her way to the front door of a home in Ocala, Florida. DiBella received a shocking phone call that Nika had been found in the most unlikely of places.

“I said, ‘All right, I’m coming to take it. Where are you?’ They said, ‘We are in Marion County.’ I said, ‘Where in Marion county?’ They said, ‘In Florida,’” DiBella said. “And I said, ‘I’m in New York!’”

DiBella’s desperate search for Nika began in May 2012. He was doing yard work in front of his home for only a few minutes when he said someone snatched the 3-pound dog from her leash in the backyard.

“I lost it,” DiBella said. “I cannot even whistle for the dog.”

DiBella searched animal shelters, distributed missing dog posters, and called police. After a year of searching, he bought another dog, named Martha, to heal his broken heart.

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When nearly all hope was lost, DiBella was looking to buy another dog to keep Martha company. That was when he got word that Nika was found in someone’s front yard — more than 1,000 miles away.

Nika was identified by her microchip at an Ocala animal shelter. DiBella said she was underweight and possibly neglected.

A family friend in Florida has been nursing Nika back to health before she comes home.

“I was feeling, like, biblical — when the son comes back to the father, you know, those kind of things,” DiBella said.

Nika will finally be reunited with DiBella on Thanksgiving, giving the dog owner a lot more to be thankful for.

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