It's never easy to drop off a pet at an animal shelter.
But some people can't even bring themselves to do that, instead leaving their old friend outside the shelter doors or even just somewhere nearby.
That's probably how Lady — at the ripe age of 17, completely alone in the world — ended up in Mohegan Park, a sprawling green space in Norwich, Connecticut, near the city-run animal shelter.
"We were pretty sure that she was dumped," Chris Lamb, founder of Connecticut Animal House, tells MNN. "She's blind and deaf and she was really sad."
Lamb's organization works closely with Norwich Animal Control, helping the city-run shelter with its burgeoning population of strays and castaways.
"They get a lot of cruelty cases and dogs with medical needs," Lamb explains. "So we help them with that."
But Lady was a special case.
Lamb was at the shelter when an animal control officer brought in the miniature long-haired dachshund. Lady seems so sad and world-weary, Lamb planned to get her into an emergency foster home right away.
But while giving Lady a bath, Lamb wondered if maybe she should double-check her for a microchip.
And sure enough, she found one.
Hours later, Lamb witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime reunion.
Five years ago, Lady disappeared from the woodsy property of Richard and Michelle Riendeau in Brooklyn, Connecticut.
"They thought she had been taken by a critter," Lamb says. "But obviously, someone picked her up and kept her for themselves."
Lamb thinks that after Lady lost her sight, that person "didn't want to care for her any more."
"It's a really rotten thing to do."
The Riendeaus, on the other hand, couldn't get Lady back into their arms fast enough.
"They jumped right in a car and came down," Lamb says.
And Lady took to Richard's arms like she'd never left them.
"He just burst into tears. He couldn't believe it."
Then the little dog was spirited back to her old house, where someone else was also keen to be reunited with her: the family's golden retriever.
"That was Lady's old pal," Lamb says.
And, although Lamb wasn't at the house when Lady got there, she heard how that reunion went down.
"The golden retriever sniffed her out and wagged his tail, as if to say 'Where the heck have you been all this time?'"
Oh, but nevermind that. Welcome back to the place you should never have left, Lady.