After over two years of separation, a Pennsylvania woman had an emotional reunion with her long lost pup when she stumbled upon his photograph on a shelter website whilst looking to adopt a new dog. Aisha Nieves, of Allentown in Pennsylvania, had decided to adopt a new puppy for her two sons after finally accepting that her lost pooch was never going to be coming home. Upon making that decided she started to browse local dog shelters to see what was available.
Whilst looking through the many dogs looking for a forever home she came across a pup that looked awfully familiar on the Lehigh County Human Society’s (LCHS) website. On their adoption page was a tan pitbull-rottweiler mix that looked exactly like the dog she had lost over two years prior.
Speaking with The Morning Call, Nieves described the moment she saw the image of LCHS’s site. “I thought, ‘Wait, that can’t be him.’ Then, I saw the little scar over one eye,” She explained, “[it was] the old scar from when he got caught in a gate, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s my baby, that’s Kovu!'”
Kovu was first adopted by Nieves when he was just 7 weeks old. He was originally adopted from the Lehigh County Human Society, which originally has him listed under the name “Ash”. Nieves cared for and raised Kovu in her home until he disappeared in May 2019. According to Lehigh County Human Society, he was discovered weeks after his reported disappearance in bad health and in need of medical care.
Deirdre Snyder, the director of development at LCHS told the outlet that Kovu had needed treatment for a flea infestation. Whilst out on his own Kovu had lost hair on his hindquarters as well as the area becoming inflamed. Snyder explained that the infestation needed to be treated with a medicated shampoo and antibiotics.
According to Snyder, Kovu was in the LCHS shelter for four months before being adopted out to a family on October 25th, 2019. However, the family that had adopted Kovu had to return him to the Lehigh County Human Society only four months later, as they were facing eviction.
Upon recognising her lost dog on the LCHS website, Nieves immediately called the shelter with a request to visit him right away. Before coming to collect Kovu Nieves was required to verify that she was indeed his original owner. She then arranged to come and collect immediately.
Nieves described the tear-jerking reunion to The Morning Call, “He was screaming, trying to get away from the guy holding him and run to me.” According to Nieves, Kovu was overcome with excitement on seeing his mama, and couldn’t wait to get close to her. Upon being released by the shelter handler he had then thrown himself at Nieves, jumping up at her, kissing her, and hugging her.
Nieves then collapsed to the ground, hugging her fur baby who climbed onto her lap to get even closer to her. As she sat with Kovu on her lap she had told him, “’Yeah, buddy, you’re going home. I’m so sorry this happened. Never again am I losing you.’
Snyder spoke with The Morning Call about Kovu’s reaction, and how he was able to recognise his old owners after such a long time away. Explaining that dogs “have an incredible sense of smell,” and that it is this strong sense of smell that enables them to connect the scent of a person to their relationship with them – allowing them to recognise someone, even after years away. He likens Nieves and Kovu’s reunion to that of military personnel returning home after long tours away, and how their dogs often greet them with the same enthusiasm that Nieves was met with.
Following an exciting and emotional reunion, Kovu is now home with his family. Having settled back into family life with ease, Nieves and her family are looking forward to celebrating Kovu’s seventh birthday this winter, with plenty of toys and treats.