It’s always heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to a dog, but sometimes life situations change so you can no longer care for your pet — as hard as it can be, you can only them a new home and hope they’ll be okay.
But after having to rehome their dog due to a military deployment, one family was unexpectedly reunited with their long-lost pet years later.
Carla Schwartz Olmstead, from Edmond, Oklahoma, says that about a month and a half ago her son Andrew found a dog, a 7-year-old blue heeler and Labrador mix, in the middle of the road. The dog was on her own and eager for help.
“When he got out to check on her, she jumped in his car and she refused to get out,” Carla wrote on Facebook. “So he brought her home.”
The dog made quite an impression on the family: “She is the sweetest and most polite dog we’ve ever been around,” Carla said. “She was gentle with our cats and our dog.”
Her behavior made them suspect that the dog once had a loving home. They found a chip, but were unable to get in touch with the owners.
But weeks later, they finally made contact — and discovered the dog’s surprising backstory: she belonged to a military family, who had rehomed her back in 2018.
The dog, named Piper, originally belonged to the family of Becca Brown. After Becca’s husband, a member of the US Air Force, was deployed in 2018, the family had to move to Germany for three years.
Sadly, they couldn’t take their dog with them, and had to find Piper a new home. While deep down they hoped they could get Piper back when they returned, they also knew they couldn’t take Piper from her new family if things worked out.
“It didn’t necessarily have to be temporary,” Becca told the Pensacola News Journal. “We didn’t want someone to get attached to her and then have us take her away three years later.”
They found Piper a new home with a man in Kansas, and things seemed to be going well in her new home. Over time, the family lost contact with the man, and accepted that their old dog was now out of their lives.
So they were stunned to hear that Piper had ended up out on the street all the way in Oklahoma. “We were mostly shocked,” Becca said. “We were just kind of like, ‘Oh. Wow. This was not anything we would have expected. Last we heard, they were doing great… We didn’t expect this.”
While shocked, the family — now in Pensacola, Florida after recently returning to the US — jumped at the chance to reunite with their dog. “They are overjoyed to be reunited with her,” Carla wrote.
And the Olmstead family even offered to deliver Piper to her family in person, embarking on a fun road trip to Florida with the sweet dog.
“Our thought was, ‘This was such a cool story, we want to see them reunited,” Carla told the Pensacola News Journal. “We wanted to see them reunited. Because we fell in love with the dog.”
“We spoiled her all the way there. She’s a great traveling dog,” Carla wrote on Facebook, sharing photos of Piper eating and staying in a hotel. “I think she had fun!”
Finally, they reached Pensacola, and Piper reunited with her old family. While Becca’s husband wasn’t home, the couple’s 6-year-old triplets were very excited by the reunion.
Although after three years apart, they have a lot of catching up to do — and it might take some time to readjust.
“Piper was a bit confused, she had never seen the new house, obviously, and she didn’t really remember the kids, who were only 3 the last time she saw them,” Becca said. But she still wagged her tail when greeted at the door:
Carla said that Piper appeared to recognize Becca, and Piper has reportedly been adjusting well, playing with the kids in the backyard.
It still isn’t clear what happened to Piper’s previous owner. Becca says she last heard the dog was “doing great” in her Kansas home, and no one knows how she ended up across the state border. “There’s a lot of parts that are mysterious to us,” she told the Pensacola News Journal.
But the important thing is that Piper made it home — unexpectedly and years later, showing that life works in mysterious ways sometimes.
We’re so glad that Piper is finally home! Thank you to the Olmstead family for taking care of this sweet dog and making sure she got back to her family.