DENVER – Mike Nuanes' jaw dropped when a voice on the end of the phone call said, "We've got a dog here that's yours."
His girlfriend looked into the backyard, counted their four dogs, and told the woman from the Fulton County Animal Shelter in Atlanta, Georgia that they weren't missing any of their pets and she must be mistaken.
"When she asked, 'Is his name Jordan?' That's when my jaw hit the ground," Nuanes said.
The last time Mike Nuanes had seen his shih tzu, Jordan was just a puppy. Nuanes and his late wife had walked to a nearby house to have breakfast with family.
When they returned, Jordan was gone.
That was nearly eight years ago. Nuanes doesn't know for sure what happened, but thinks someone snatched the dog from his backyard while he was gone.
"Being the optimist that I am, when they called me I thought, 'Well, I know he didn't walk to Altanta, so somebody must have been taking care of him all these years," he said.
Jill Davis at Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta says Jordan was brought to them the last week in October by a Good Samaritan who had found him as a stray.
"He was in pretty bad shape," she said.
He was covered in fleas, had lost patches of hair and was extremely emaciated. The normally ten to twelve pound canine weighed just over five.
The shelter scanned Jordan for a microchip, and found a match.
"After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked, 'Is he a little chocolate fellow?'" Nuanes said.
"He was shocked. It didn't take him a second to say, 'I'm going to get him a ticket and fly him out here [to Denver].'" Davis said.
But Nuanes did one better. Days later, he had bought a plane ticket for himself, and with leash, food, food bowls, and a new collar in hand, was walking in to the animal shelter to be reunited with his long-lost pet.
Nuanes says he was just being a responsible pet owner, but the video of their reunion will show you he's much more than that.
The pair flew home on Frontier Airlines and Nuanes says people were overwhelmingly kind.
"People gave up their seats so I could sit in the front row and let him on my lap," he said.
Now, Jordan is happily home with four other fur friends at Nuanes' Denver residence.
"They accepted him right in and they're getting closer to him," he said. "Life is good at the Nuanes household for the dogs."
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