Stolen Dog Separated From Owner for 2 Years Jumps for Joy During Amazing Reunion

Stolen Dog Separated From Owner for 2 Years Jumps for Joy During Amazing Reunion
(Illustration - Shutterstock)
From the archives: This story was last updated in November 2019.
“Reunited and it feels so good.” So go the lyrics of the classic R&B tune, and truer words were never spoken when it came to the reunion between 52-year-old Natalia Stadnik, of Mariupol, Ukraine, who finally got to embrace her dog Lord, an Alabai, also known as a Central Asian shepherd dog, that had been stolen two years prior.

And this tearful, emotional meeting between dog and human might never have taken place if it weren’t for a picture shared on social media that went all the way across the world to Australia.

For Stadnik, summer 2017 was one of the saddest times of her life. Her dog Lord, who was an indispensable member of the family, escaped on July 5, 2017. She and her daughter Vika combed the entire city looking for their beloved pet, but without any luck, as she explained to the Gazeta. When Stadnik had searched everywhere, she posted notices around the city and uploaded photos on social media of the missing dog.

Unfortunately, none of the leads panned out, and she even had scammers who called her trying to blackmail her for the dog’s return. When she refused to pay the fees they were demanding, they threatened her. “You don’t want to pay the money, let’s give [Lord] to the dog fighters,” they told her, per the Gazeta.

Two years passed, and Stadnik was despondent about the loss of Lord. Then by chance, a friend of hers living in Australia saw a post about a lost dog by Galina Lekunova on the “Happy Animals” page, a non-profit animal welfare organization in Mariupol. She told Stadnik that the dog resembled her long-lost Lord. When the former owner saw the dog, she couldn’t believe how bad he looked, emaciated with ribs sticking out, ulcers, and patches of fur missing.

The meeting between mom and dog was set for the next day, and shelter staff member Galina Lekunova knew it would be emotional. “She'd been looking for her dog for two years,” Lekunova emphasized to The Dodo.

When the big day came, Lord was uneasy at first. Two years of a tough life on the streets had made him suspicious of people and even aggressive. But that all changed when Stadnik called him by his name. “I cleared my throat, I said to him, ‘Lord, Lord,’” she told the Gazeta. “And he spun around, [I] saw that he knew [it was me]. He handed me his paw.”

Once Lord gave Stadnik his paw, he couldn’t bear to be away and eventually got up on his hind legs to unleash a flurry of kisses on his human. “He was hiding his head like a little baby,” she said. “I was only able to say through tears, ‘What did they do to you ...’” The tearful reunion had people on the internet breaking into tears as well. Thousands of people watched the unshakeable bond between the two.

Illustration - Shutterstock | <a href="">Yemets</a>
Illustration - Shutterstock | Yemets
When Stadnik brought the dog back home, “even the cat recognized him immediately!” she noted on Happy Animals Facebook page.

Since that time, she has been focused on helping Lord get a normal life back again, especially in terms of diet and regrowing his coat. She posted an update with pictures, letting friends and well-wishers know that “[t]hree months have passed since our son returned home, it was [a mix of] joy with tears ... Now, he is healthy and enjoys life again.”