NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was an incredible reunion on Long Island this weekend, between a family and a very long-lost four-legged loved one.
Monica Hart remembers the poodle mix her mother, Linda Hart Williams, rescued and adored for years before he got out of their Rosedale house in 2012 and vanished.
“Milo was her baby,” Monica told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday.
“We were going from house to house putting up posters, the police department,” granddaughter Deja Riggins added.
The heartbroken Queens grandmother never gave up, as evidenced by her dying wish before she succumbed to cancer two years ago.
“Two days before she died she talked about Milo. She said, ‘My dog is going to come back.’ She knew Milo was stolen,” Monica said.
Fast forward six and a half years. A letter arrived from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.
“It said, ‘We have your dog.’ I said, ‘You have my dog?!?’ And then I looked and I said, ‘Oh my God,'” Monica said.
Then, on Sunday, there was a magical moment.
The shelter reunited Milo with the Hart family, amid joyous tears and a flood of memories.
“Everybody cried. I could imagine her face seeing Milo,” Hart said of her mother.
“Everyone was in tears. The whole shelter was in tears. It makes coming to work happier for these happy moments,” shelter employee Kelly Morgese said.
“Six and a half years. That is amazing,” Monica said.
The reunion was made possible because Milo had an implanted tiny microchip, with his rightful owner’s information.
“Microchips is a great advancement in technology to help reunite lost pets with owners. We advocate everyone microchip their animals,” Hempstead Animal Shelter director Michael Pastore said.
Milo’s six-plus year odyssey will likely remain a mystery. Last week, someone turned him in to the shelter without much explanation, only saying they’d been given the dog by a landscaper.
Now 16 years old and missing for 45 dog years, Milo is frail, partially blind and deaf but seems to recognize his surroundings.
“Milo, you are home! This is your home,” Monica said.
The Hart family is heartened to fulfill their mother’s wish at last and welcome back her best friend.
The Town of Hempstead supervisor is proposing free microchipping of dogs in the town. The vote will be held on Tuesday.