Bella, a tiny Maltese-Pomeranian mix, went missing in December 2013 after her owner, Bill Gerstein, let her outside at his office. Usually not a problem, but this time when Gerstein turned around Bella was gone.
“It was a Friday the 13th,” Gerstein told the North Jersey Record. “I remember that. She would go out back and then come back in when she was done outside, and that day, I was distracted. I went back inside, realized about an hour later, ‘Oh my God, where’s the dog?’ So I went out back with my partner and other merchants from the area, and there was just no sign of her.”
After a frantic search, Gerstein eventually gave up and moved on, but then last week he received an email from animal control in New Jersey – more than 1,900 km away – that a dog had turned up at a shelter with a microchip registered to him.
“I reached out to them and gave them my cellphone number to send a picture,” he said.
When confirmation came that it was Bella, Gerstein flew New Jersey to get her.
“She definitely remembered me,” he told the Record.
“She wouldn’t stop kissing me, and she’s not a big kisser,” said Gerstein’s wife, Dori.
It’s unclear how Bella ended up in New Jersey.
“I’ve been here 12 years and I’ve never seen this happen, where the dog’s been been missing three years and gets reunited with the owners,” said Angel Rivera, an animal control officer who found the dog told news channel Pix 11.