Dogs are more than furry friends. They quickly become part of your family, filling your home with more than their hair and providing unconditional love, laughter, and joy. Taking part ownership of your heart and losing your pet can be traumatic and heartbreaking, as the Californian Houman family can attest to. But this month, they offered the Houman family cause for celebration: the reunion with Mishka, their dog that had been missing since last summer.

More than 2,000 miles away from her Golden State home, Mishka was found by police in a suburban area of Detroit. Last week, Harper Woods police responded to a call about a stray dog and found a lost terrier mix wandering. After picking up the puppy, the police contacted an animal welfare group.

The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society is a Michigan-licensed animal protection facility that partners with Harper Woods police. The animal adoption society quickly learned that the lost dog was named Mishka, and she had an identity chip implanted in her that contained information about her owners, the Houman family. 

Mehrad Houman and his family are rooted in San Diego, but they were planning to travel to Minnesota when they got the call from Grosse Pointe that their Mishka had been found. After landing in Minnesota, Mehrad made the 10-hour trek to Michigan for the long-awaited reunion with Mishka. The animal adoption group posted a video with pictures showing smiles all around. From the staff to the heart-warming faces of the Houman family, Mishka’s story is a Hollywood tale come true.

But how did this dog get over 2,000 miles from Houman’s workplace and auto garage last summer? Her collar had the family’s phone number, but the Houmans never got a call. Corinne Martin, director of Grosse Pointe, stated, “We think it was stolen, and then it was sold and ended up in Michigan.”

The idea of a stolen dog, your beloved pet, is unfathomable, but this horrendous crime is not all that rare. reports that almost 2 million dogs are stolen yearly, with nearly 80% of these precious pooches never being found. While dognapping occurs for various reasons, criminals are often motivated by greed. With rare and purebred dogs often sold to unreputable dealers, medical testing centers, and everyday ordinary citizens, most people are unaware of the dog’s origin and heartbroken family. From small to large dogs, law enforcement agencies and animal rights organizations have warned the public about the uptick in animal theft, urging you to avoid leaving your pets alone in the car or free in the yard. 

But despite depressing facts about the recovery of stolen dogs, Elizabeth Houman never gave up hope that Mishka would return home, stating, “I never gave up… I put up over a thousand flyers. I had a flyer on my back windshield. I wore her leash whenever I would look for her. It’s been an incredible journey.”

Requiring an air ride home, Veterinarian Nancy Pillsbury examined 3-year-old Mishka, gave her a rabies shot, and cleared her for travel back to San Diego. Now, after months of missing, Mishka is finally homeward-bound.