It was a reunion five years and 1,000 miles in the making — and one Jen Costa had all but given up on.
But it happened on Friday when the Queens woman saw her old English bulldog, Azzurra Diamante, for the first time since the pooch’s disappearance in 2017.
“It was amazing. I mean, I just can’t believe I’m here, that she’s actually here,” Costa said.
The reunion took place in Henderson, Tennessee, a far cry from the spot in Long Beach where Azzurra was lost in 2017. The dog had turned up at a local animal shelter in November and appeared to be in good health.
“It was like, holy cow! How on earth did this dog get over 1,000 miles?” said Jan Morris, the shelter’s spokesman. “You just want him to be able to talk and tell you what happened.”
Morris doesn’t know how the dog made it to Tennessee. She said the microchip in the dog, who she believed had never been abused and was very affectionate, led the search for her owner back to Costa. After learning that her beloved pet had been found, Costa drove from her home in Queens Village to greet Azzurra back.
“I feel like I’ve been through a lot. I have suffered many losses. I lost my other dog to cancer in August,” Costa said.
For her, this moment was a sweet end to a long and difficult road. Costa is a cancer survivor herself who lost her tongue to the disease while shedding hundreds of pounds. She calls Azzurra her gift from God.
“It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime stories,” Morris said.
Costa said that she and Azzurra picked up right where they left off five years ago. They will return to New York over the weekend alongside Costa’s other dog, Pancake, as they resume the life they lost years ago.