Families who’ve owned dogs since they were small pups form intimate bonds with said four-legged companions. And when kids make memories via playing fetch and tug-of-war with their furry energetic friends, they form truly unbreakable bonds.
The Texan Robles family loved their dog to no end. She knew the family since she was a puppy and grew up alongside the children. This made it all the more painful when, one afternoon, the pooch disappeared, leaving the family to wonder what became of the dog they were so close with…
Icela Robles grew up with dogs, so when she married and had children, she knew it was only a matter of time before her family welcomed a canine into their home. She had a special soft spot for Labradors.
When Iclela’s son and daughter, Joshua and Jeslyn, were only a few months old, Lola the dog entered their lives, and it was love at first sight (or lick) for every single family member.
The kids immediately took to the golden Labrador and, after late evenings tossing the tennis ball and long walks with her on Saturday mornings, they developed a special bond.
As Lola and the two Robles children grew up, they spent every available moment hanging out together. In fact, if you asked Joshua and Jeslyn, they would have admitted they thought of Lola as another sibling.
One summer afternoon, Joshua and Jeslyn went out into the backyard to play with Lola. However, when the children called for her, she was nowhere to be found. After searching the property, they feared the worst.
A frantic Joshua and Jeslyn ran inside and told Icela. She and her husband hopped into their car and combed every square inch of their neighborhood, but it was true: Lola had disappeared.
An entire 12 months went by with no word from anyone about Lola. They asked friends and neighbors, but no one knew anything. The dog was gone, and the family was devastated.
Questions mounted for the family who could never stop wondering what Lola’s ultimate fate was. Had somebody found her? Was she living somewhere else with another family? Answers were impossible to come by — until one morning.
On that day, Icela answered the phone and was greeted by an unfamiliar voice. On the other end, an employee at Dallas Animal Services announced they had stunning news.
Icela’s mouth dropped as she heard the voice on the other end tell her they found Lola! Icela hopped in the car and drove to the shelter, wondering if that could possibly be true.
Sure enough, when Icela stepped into the shelter, a familiar face greeted her. There was the beloved golden Labrador Lola, eyes wide and tail furiously wagging! Joyous day!
Lola had been microchipped as a puppy, so when the workers from Dallas Animal Services brought her in, a simple scan of her microchip let them know she was the Robles’ dog. But Icela had questions.
For instance, how had it taken a whole year for the family to get Lola back? Where had she been all that time? And how had she only found her way to the shelter now?
Obviously, Lola couldn’t tell her owners what happened, but because she looked well-fed and cared for, the workers assumed she had been staying with another family.
While Icela wouldn’t ever get the truth behind Lola’s disappearance, this didn’t diminish her overwhelming joy. Elated, Icela couldn’t wait to tell Joshua and Jeslyn the news.
Icela called the house to make sure her kids were home, and she kept Lola in the back seat so the kids couldn’t see her when the van pulled into the driveway. This way, the surprise would hit as hard as possible.
The Dodo / YouTube
As soon as Icela pulled into the driveway, Joshua and Jeslyn greeted her, curious as to why their mother wanted to know if they were home — and what she wanted to show them in the trunk. They soon had their answers!
The Dodo / YouTube
Both children stared in awe as the dog they’d grown up with for years leaped out of the back! Jeslyn started crying, and Joshua couldn’t stop hugging the long-lost family member!
The Dodo / YouTube
It felt too good to be true, but it wasn’t! The Robles were a full family again at last. The family celebrated by taking their newly returned dog out for a play session! Look at her go!
To this day, the mystery remains: where the heck had she gone for an entire year? Still, many animals who go missing never return; the Robles were just incredibly lucky to have their golden Labrador back.
Lola returning to her family after an entire year is a bizarre ending to this story, and we couldn’t imagine what pain the Robles family must’ve felt within those 12 months. But even losing a cherished pet for a measly month can feel helpless.
Marley & Me
John and Cindy Billesberger know this pain, as their beloved dog Bruno went missing in September 2016. They couldn’t find him in any of his usual spots. At first, they were sure that the adventurous dog would eventually return, but then he didn’t…
After a month without any trace of Bruno, they began to fear the worst. The family, who lived in Estevan in Saskatchewan, Canada, grieved every day for their missing dog. They hoped he’d simply been picked up by another family. It was the only way to keep their sadness at bay.
Then, something strange happened. One day, when John was outside and about a half-mile from his house, another of their dogs showed a strange interest in one particular spot on their neighbor’s property.
John tried to force his pooch to move on, but the dog looked at him and refused to budge. When John started to walk away, the dog began to bark. That was when John decided to investigate…
When he saw what captured his other dog’s attention, he was stunned. It was a four-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep hole, which was likely an old well that had been dug up but later forgotten about.
The well itself was an interesting discovery, but that wasn’t why John and Cindy’s dog started to bark. You see, at the bottom of the well was Bruno—and he was, miraculously, still alive somehow after all that time!
John quickly took a visual inventory of his beloved missing dog and he could tell right away that Bruno was in bad shape. The poor pooch was on the verge of death. He couldn’t bark, and his eyes appeared sunken.
Crusty and infected, the poor dog had cuts and sores all over his body. He’d also sadly worn the pads off of his paws in his fruitless attempt to climb out. John knew he had to act fast…
John quickly called his son, who arrived at the scene just minutes later. His son tied a rope around his own waist and jumped down into the well, risking life and limb to save Bruno.
Bruno was in such a bad way that he didn’t recognize John’s son, and he seemed frightened. Still, John’s son spoke soothing words and scooped up the dog, lifting him out of the well before climbing out himself.
The Billesbergers drove the injured Bruno to the nearest veterinary hospital in Estevan and prayed that he could hold on just a little bit longer. When they arrived, even the veterinary technicians were stunned.
The workers rushed Bruno into the ER, hooked him up to IV fluids, and began treating his injuries. They struggled to come up with a treatment plan knowing that the dog’s chances of survival were very slim. Would he even make it?
Bruno was diagnosed as dehydrated, malnourished, and anemic, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. The team at the veterinary clinic knew that he would require round-the-clock care if there was to be any hope for his survival.
The workers noted that, in some ways, Bruno was lucky to have fallen in a well, especially since it had snowed; the little water he had there helped him hang on until he could be rescued. It was a strange but critical silver lining.
Bruno spent weeks recovering. Thankfully, he slowly started getting back to his old self again. Before too long, he was able to recognize the Billesbergers—and as soon as he did, his tail started wagging!
Both the staff at the hospital and Bruno’s family were so concerned about Bruno when he first arrived, and the mere fact that he was even alive was a miracle. They couldn’t get over how he was able to recover the way he did.
After 22 days of treatment, Bruno was finally well enough to go home! Sure, he was still a little weak and one of his paws was in a cast, but everyone agreed that the real medicine Bruno needed was love…
Cindy and John were overwhelmed with adoration for their dog and the people who helped him. “After seeing what he looked like when we brought him in and seeing the looks on the vets’ faces,” Cindy said, “every day—every moment—that he lived was another obstacle that [was] overcome.”
Bruno looked much better, but he had a long way to go. He was still battling refeeding syndrome, a potentially deadly disease that affects dogs recovering from starvation. Cindy said it was difficult to see him undernourished because he was so healthy before.
The Billesbergers weren’t the only ones who are happy to have Bruno back. John and Cindy remarked that their two other dogs were seriously depressed in the absence of their best friend. Thankfully, things were looking up!
It’s truly heartbreaking whenever you see an animal like Bruno in pain or distress. Sadly, we don’t always have the training or appropriate resources at hand to help. But even the smallest gesture can sometimes still mean the difference between life and death.
A man in India can certainly attest to this. Recently when he was walking home from work he heard something truly distressing — the desperate cry of what sounded like baby animals. Cautiously, he followed the sounds toward some construction debris…
Sure enough, there were three young puppies crying out for help! The man wanted to step in, but there was just one problem: the puppies were completely stuck in a pit of tar! Panicked, the man didn’t know what to do.
The man took a closer look. The poor puppies had stumbled into a pit of tar and they were totally trapped in the sticky substance. Worse yet? It was hardening, and fast! He didn’t know what else to do—he couldn’t pull them out, and it wouldn’t be safe to expose himself to the substance. Still, he had one idea…
The man desperately called the rescue organization, Animal Aid Unlimited. He couldn’t help save the puppies, but they might’ve been able to! The rescue team arrived as quickly as they could and approached the puppies. It looked like a truly impossible situation for the little ones.
After struggling to release the puppies, the rescuers realized that they couldn’t just pull the puppies from the tar—they were too badly stuck. In order to free them, they would have to separate the tar later! It was a slow and nerve-wracking process…
They transported the puppies—and the tar they were stuck to—back to their treatment facility and hoped for the best. They had no idea how long the puppies had been trapped, nor did they have any clue if they would survive their ordeal.
Each of the puppies suffered damage inflicted by the tar, but some were in far worse shape than others. This one pup was totally unable to even close her mouth. She was in so much distress that she couldn’t stop crying.
As soon as the team successfully transported all of the puppies to the treatment center, they tried to rehydrate and comfort them. At first, they were only able to administer water using their fingertips or an oral syringe.
Once the puppies were rehydrated, the real hard work began. The team worked carefully to remove all of the tar that was covering the puppies’ fur. First, they used clippers and scissors in an attempt to cut away the largest chunks of tar…
Once that step was done, the rescuers carefully massaged a thick layer of oil into the puppies’ coats. While it might’ve seemed odd, oil was actually the only way to soften the tar so that it could be washed off from the puppies’ fur.
It took two hours, but the tar finally began to soften and the puppies started to wriggle and move more freely! It was an inspiring sight, but there was still much more work to be done before they would be out of the woods…
The puppies would have many more oil massages in their future to help in the process of loosening the tar. In between oiling sessions, they would transfer the puppies to vats of warm water and rinse off what they could of the warmed tar.
It took a lot of time, but after many oil massages—and even more baths—the team’s efforts finally started to pay off! They were able to see the sweet young puppies who were hidden underneath all of that foul and viscose stuff.
Thanks to the Animal Aid Unlimited team, the puppies looked like they were going to pull through! It must have been wonderful for those pups to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it took quite a toll on them…
Unfortunately, the process of being manhandled and constantly massaged and cleaned was taking a physical toll on the puppies. It was so exhausting that they started falling asleep even as they were being cleaned!
Luckily, sleep was another thing these puppies desperately needed to help them speed up the recovery process. With every oiling and with every bath, they seemed stronger, healthier, and more eager to get back to the business of being regular puppies!
Thankfully, it wasn’t long before they got their wish! Within a few days and with most of the tar removed, the puppies were completely unrecognizable. Who would’ve thought that just days before, they were on the brink of death?
The puppies had nothing but adoration for the members of the Animal Aid Unlimited team who came to their rescue. Now that they were clean and happy again, they were finally able to express their affection the only way they knew how: with lots of kisses! But there was even more good news for them…
Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any more heartwarming, the Animal Aid Unlimited Team was actually able to locate the puppies’ mother! They quickly rescued her and reunited her with her beloved missing litter.
Under the watchful and loving eye of their mother and the Animal Aid Unlimited team, the puppies were finally able to relax. They frolicked and played, and eventually, their true personalities began to emerge, too.
Seeing these puppies running free and playing together was something that their rescuers had only dreamed of a couple of days earlier. To see it actually happening was beyond their wildest hopes for the three little pups.
Being reunited with their missing mother made their incredible recovery all the sweeter. With their mother standing by, they would be able to get the nutrients they needed to survive as well as learn valuable life lessons from her (such as “don’t play in a tar pit!”).
Just watch these puppies’ entire amazing journey. Once you witness these puppies in action you won’t be able to resist shedding a few tears of joy when you see their happy ending for yourself!