By ANDREW SCOTT, The (Allentown) Morning Call
ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (AP) – On June 18, Aisha Nieves of Schuylkill County scrolled through pictures of puppies ready for adoption.
Nieves wanted a dog in her house again so that her two boys could play with them.
“I happened upon the Lehigh County Humane Society’s adoption site and was looking at pictures when my phone froze on that one picture and I just stared,” she said Thursday.
The picture was of a brown Pit Bull and Rotweiler mix.
“I thought, ‘Wait, he can’t be,'” said Nieves, referring to her dog, which she lost two years ago.
Kovu is his name, after the character in “The Lion Guard”.
“Then I saw the little scar over one eye, the scar when it was trapped in a gate, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is my baby, this is Kovu!'” Said Nieves.
Nieves got Kovu at the age of 7 weeks in 2014. She loved and cared for him at her home on 14th Street in Allentown until May 2019.
Kovu, who had never run or run away before, was suddenly gone, said Nieves. He went through a hole made two weeks earlier by a car that crashed into their front gate.
“When I got home later that day, I found out that he was gone and he wasn’t there to run up to me and kiss me like he usually did,” said Nieves. “I searched the whole house and couldn’t find it, then spent a good week looking around Allentown and still couldn’t find it.
“I was four months pregnant with my younger son at the time,” she said. “I had a lot of emotions flowing through me. I cried, thought of the worst, thought someone had kidnapped or injured him. I was just devastated. He was there for me in everything, heartbreak, ups and downs, and now he was gone. It was so difficult to accept. “
Weeks later, on June 8, 2019, the Lehigh County Humane Society picked Kovu up from an Allentown resident’s yard on Eighth Street where he was sighted and brought him to the shelter.
“Our employees called him ‘Ash’,” said Deirdre Snyder, LCHS development manager. “He had to be treated for fleas, had hair on the back end and had an infection. He was treated with antibiotics and bathed with a special medicated shampoo. He was in our shelter for about four months and then was adopted by a family on October 25, 2019.
“The family returned on June 12th of this year and said they might be evicted and they would have to hand him over,” said Snyder. “We accepted it and waived the handover fee. Kovu was in good health. “
“I called the Humane Society and told them that ‘Ash’ is my dog Kovu, who has been missing for two years,” said Nieves. “I told them, ‘I’m on my way to get him, what do I have to bring?'”
Just her ID, a photo of her with Kovu before he ran away, and the fee to get him back.
On their Facebook page with pictures of Nieve’s reunion with Kovu, the Humane Society posted: “When he saw his long-lost mother, the previously shy and frightened Kovu let out the most excited squeak we’ve ever heard!”
Nieves said, “He screamed and tried to get away from the guy who was holding him and ran to me. Then he just jumped on me and we started kissing and hugging. He was sitting on my lap. I told him, ‘Yeah, mate, you’re going home. I’m so sorry that happened. I’ll never lose you again. ‘”
It’s rare for a pet at LCHS to be reunited with an owner after such a long time, but not uncommon for a dog to still recognize the owner after such a long separation, Snyder said.
“Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and that’s probably the first thing that gets recognition,” she said. “There are many videos online of members of the military coming home after a long time, and their dog will recognize them with a similar joy and excitement that Kovu had for Aisha.”
Nieves and her family are now looking forward to celebrating Kovu’s 7th birthday this Christmas.
“Now that he’s back home, I feel whole again,” she said. “The whole time he was gone, I felt like a piece of me was missing. I never stopped thinking about him or wondering if he was being treated well wherever he was. I looked at Facebook pictures of us together and started crying. I just wanted my baby back. And now it is. “
More: Testing your dog’s DNA has grown in popularity. Here you can buy sets online.