It was a joyful, if unlikely, meeting Wednesday in Stoughton, Mass., as a woman from the Boston suburb of Quincy was reunited with the Yorkshire terrier that had been stolen outside of her home 11 years ago. Boston 25 notes that Rex, who used to live with his owner, Marzena Niejadlik, and her mom in Dorchester, disappeared in 2011 when he escaped from their home and was grabbed off the street by someone. Niejadlik, who tells WCVB she'd adopted Rex to help comfort her mother and herself after her brother had died, searched in vain for their dog, posting fliers and filing a police report. Eventually, the search ended, and Niejadlik thought she'd never see Rex again—until Wednesday, when Stoughton Animal Control Officer Michelle Carlos got a call about a seemingly lost dog wandering around in Stoughton.
What Carlos found was an emaciated, hungry pooch that also happened to have a microchip, which enabled officials to track down a stunned Niejadlik, who still had the same phone number she'd had in 2011. "I really, really hoped that one day we would receive this call, but we were kind of like losing hope after 10 years," she tells WESH. Niejadlik, who headed over to the Stoughton Police Department to retrieve Rex, has since moved to Quincy and now has 9-year-old twins Gabriel and Victoria. The twins weren't alive when Rex vanished, but they've heard plenty of stories about him. "It was very exciting to have him back, especially that it was a long time [ago when he disappeared]," Victoria tells Boston 25. "I wasn't even alive. Two years before I was alive."
WCVB notes that no one knows how Rex ended up in Stoughton, a good half-hour drive from Dorchester, but Niejadlik and her family are just happy to have him back. Rex, for his part, had a "great night at their home and loved meeting her kids," Stoughton police said. He was "treated to a day of beauty and all is right in the world." Especially poignant is the fact that Rex's arrival comes two months after another of Niejadlik's brothers died. "We got him after the first tragedy, and now he’s back after the second one to help us deal with this loss," she tells Boston 25. Officials, meanwhile, say the case underscores the importance of getting your pets microchipped. "Most of the time, they don't have a chip, which is sad, because they can't tell where they live or where they came from," Carlos says. (Read more uplifting news stories.)