The last time Kelly Accettola saw her dog, Bemis, she was letting the Italian greyhound into her yard in Norfolk, Virginia, to go the bathroom. Typically, the pup would scratch at the back door after a few minutes, but he didn't this time.

“I went out to the backyard to see what was going on and sure enough he wasn’t there,” she told the Gaston Gazette. “It was just like he vanished without a trace.”

Accettola searched for Bemis relentlessly, canvassing her neighborhood every day and calling for her four-legged buddy, but she never found the microchipped dog. Years passed and she eventually gave up as she and her family moved to California.

Then in mid-February 2017, about seven years after she had last laid eyes on her pup, Accettola received a letter from the microchip company. (Since the family had moved and changed phone numbers, it took some detective work to track them down.) A woman in Gastonia, North Carolina, had found her dog wandering on the side of the road and had asked for help in tracking down the real owner.

"You know, you hear these miracle stories about people who get their missing pets back after years apart and you think, 'That'll never happen to me,' but my God, it has!" Accettola wrote on her GoFundMe page. "Tracy (the woman who found him and has looked for him since December) is a guardian angel and I will never be able to thank her for everything she has done for me and for our dog."

A sweet reunion

The reunion by all accounts was pretty emotional. Bemis happily trotted into the vet's office where he was reunited with his first owner and Accettola burst into tears when she saw him.

“Oh, my gosh, Bemis. Hi sweetheart,” she told the dog, as she hugged him, reported the Gazette. “You look just the same.”

Accettola adopted Bemis about nine years ago when she was 18 and living in upstate New York with her husband, Donavon. Kelly was a combat medic in the Army and Donavon was a nuclear engineer in the Navy.

They named him after Max Bemis, the lead singer of Kelly’s favorite band Say Anything. She says the pup always kept her company, especially when she and her husband were apart due to their military commitments.

“He was with me through a lot of stuff when I was alone and didn’t have any family or anybody nearby,” she said. “He was my best friend and we did everything together.”

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.