A woman in Pennsylvania was looking to adopt a new pet at a local animal shelter when she ended up having a surprise reunion with a dog she lost two years earlier.
Aisha Nieves of Allentown said she was searching for a dog for her two sons on the Lehigh County Humane Society's website when she came across a picture of a tan pit bull-rottweiler mix that looked exactly like her long lost furry friend.
"I thought, 'Wait, that can't be him,'" Aisha told The Morning Call. "Then, I saw the little scar over one eye, the scar from when he got caught in a gate, and I was like, 'Oh my God, that's my baby, that's Kovu!'"
In 2019, Kovu -- who had been with the Nieves family for five years -- escaped from their home after a car crashed into the front gate. Weeks later, Kovu was picked up by the Lehigh County Humane Society, renamed and eventually adopted by a different family. On June 12, 2021, the family surrendered Kovu -- now "Ash" -- to the Humane Society, as they were facing possible eviction. Six days later, Aisha spotted the picture of the pooch on LCHS' adoption list.
"I at first thought, 'No way is this my dog,'" she said. "When I was sure it was him, I got so excited I was literally shaking."
Any apprehension of Kovu not remembering Aisha quickly disappeared when she drove down to the shelter and the pair locked eyes.
"Then, he just jumped on me and we started kissing and hugging. He sat on my lap. I told him, 'Yeah, buddy, you're going home. I'm so sorry this happened. Never again am I losing you.'"
LCHS director of development Deirdre Snyder said it is not unusual for a dog to recognize someone after an extended period of time due to their incredible sense of smell, telling the outlet, "That is likely the first thing that brings the recognition."
Now Aisha is looking forward to celebrating Kovu's seventh birthday together on Christmas.
"Now that he’s back home, I feel whole again," she said. "All that time he was gone, I felt like a piece of me was missing. Never did I stop thinking about him or wondering if he was being treated well wherever he was. I just wanted my baby back. And now he is."