EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island woman maintained indomitable resolve to find her missing dog more than a year after he got off his leash a year ago – and it has paid off.

As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, Yogi Bob – a five-pound terrier mix, simply disappeared in East Hampton. An all-out search failed.

But an amazing coincidence miles, and miles away brought them back together.

Yogi Bob was leaping up in the air after being reunited with his delighted owner, Dominique Garstin. It had been a long separation, dating back to January 2016.

Garstin’s father, Michael, decided to let the playful and highly energetic pup off his leash.

“I was actually the person walking the dog, Yogi, with our two larger dogs when he disappeared,” Michael Garstin said, “and I felt very, very guilty.”

Without her beloved and furry companion, Dominique Garstin could not sleep. She and friends searched far and wide, and she even paid a nationally-renowned dog tracking company $5,000 to look for Yogi Bob.

“It was a pretty intense and relentless search, and we put up thousands of signs,” Garstin said, “We were getting crazy sightings. I got a phone call from a gentleman who had seen him being chased at night by a fox.”

And then two weeks ago, the 15-month search for Yogi Bob came to a happy end, 75 miles away at the Town of Hempstead animal shelter, through an incredible coincidence.

“I was evaluating this dog and I said, ‘Wow, he looks really, really familiar,” said Christie Fanti of the Hempstead shelter.

Against all odds, in her new job at the Hempstead shelter, Fanti knew all about Yogi Bob’s disappearance. She had previously worked at the East Hampton shelter when the dog went missing.

Fanti immediately called Dominique Garstin, who raced to Hempstead.

“She started crying, and she kind of dropped down and kept asking him, ‘Is it you?’ And then she picked him up, and she started licking her face,” Fanti said. “And it was very sweet.”

Dominique Garstin and her father and her young son could not be happier, although Yogi Bob’s roaming days are over.

“He’s going to have a very leashed and collared life from this point forward,” Dominique Garstin said.

If you’re wondering about the dog’s name, it is because Dominique Garstin calls herself a yogi and is a yoga instructor.

  1. Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter trainer Christie Fanti went above and beyond to reunite Yogi Bob and his owner. Christie recognized the little dog that went missing over a year ago when she was the animal control officer in East Hampton. This dog miraculously showed up as a stray at the Hempstead shelter, and thanks to Christie following up on her hunch that it might be Yogi Bob, this story has a happy ending. Way to go, Christie.

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