This family surprised their 14-year-old son when they picked him up at school with their pug – who had gone missing for two and a half weeks – riding in the passenger’s seat of their truck. Piper loves everyone in her family, but her bond with Carter Licata, 14, is special.
“It was love at first sight for the two of them,” April Licata, Carter’s mom, told The Dodo.
But instead of looking forward to the holidays, the Licata family was met with an unthinkable tragedy – Piper suddenly went missing.
Last month, April let Piper and her other dog outside to “go potty”. But when she opened the door to let them in, the pug was nowhere to be found.
They searched for her everywhere, reached out to the neighbors and community groups, and posted about the missing dog on social media. They prayed for their pet’s safe return, but after the weeks had gone by without any sign of her, they began to lose hope.
Piper had been given to Carter as a 12th birthday gift after they were forced to give away their old pug, Oliver, because of his younger brother’s illness years ago.
With Piper gone, the whole family – especially April’s two eldest children, Carter and Natalie – lost the energy to participate in anything festive.
“We were all sick,” April said. “The older kids wanted nothing to do with decorating the Christmas tree and it was a very somber Thanksgiving for them.”
Then, April received a message from the Genesee County Animal Shelter. A person who wanted to remain anonymous had dropped off a dog matching Piper’s description at the shelter. It was the good news they’ve been waiting for!
“My husband and I were going out to dinner and honestly, there was an outcry of joy in the truck,” April recalled. “We were shocked and elated!”
Carter was out of town when they got Piper back, so April planned to make their reunion even more special by surprising him at school. She drove to pick him up with the little pug riding in the passenger’s seat.
At school, when Carter first saw the pug peeping at him through the window, it looked like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. But when he realized that it was really Piper, the boy broke down into tears. The pug’s tail went crazy at the sight of her brother!
Carter went inside the car and sat on the passenger’s seat, taking Piper in his arms and hugging her, still emotional upon reuniting with his best friend.
The family is filled with relief and happiness now that Piper has returned just in time for Christmas.
“My son loves his dog so much, was sick while she was gone, and tonight she’s sleeping next to him again,” April wrote on Facebook. “What a Christmas miracle for our family.”
Watch Carter and Piper’s emotional reunion at school below: