Woman Loses Dog — Then Spots Him On TV 3 Years Later

"I cried. I was overwhelmed with joy. It felt like a dream.”

Since Dodger was a puppy, Lucy Fraustro knew he was special — his large white head seemed out of proportion with his tiny body, and his wide smile stretched from ear to ear.

So when Dodger suddenly went missing from her yard in October 2015, Fraustro was heartbroken.

Dodger the pit bull
Danny Bress

“I went outside to feed my dogs and they were nowhere to be found,” Fraustro told The Dodo. “I called all my friends and family to help me look for them. We put up flyers around the neighborhood. I drove to different shelters around my area, but I had no luck.”

Fraustro didn’t want to believe that her dogs were really gone, but after two months of visiting shelters, she finally gave up.

“I thought I'd never see my dogs again,” Fraustro said. “When they left, they took a piece of my heart with them. I never replaced my dogs because losing them was too painful.”

But nearly three years later, Dodger returned to Fraustro’s life just as suddenly as he had left it.

Dodger the dog in Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society

Early on July 4, Fraustro was watching "Good Day L.A.," a local morning show, when a segment came on the air promoting free adoptions through Best Friends Animal Society called Pay It Forward.

One of the dogs featured was a grey and white pit bull named Butler. Fraustro immediately recognized the large, white head and wide grin.

“When I first saw Dodger on TV I couldn't believe it,” Fraustro said. “I screamed, ‘Oh my God! That's Dodger! That's my dog! Oh my God!’”

Shelter Volunteer Danny Bress and Dodger
Danny Bress

Fraustro logged onto Best Friends Animal Society's website scanning the adoptable pups until she found a photo of the pit bull she'd seen on TV.

“After comparing pictures, I knew I had to pay them a visit,” Fraustro said. “I drove almost an hour to get there. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole way over.”

Over the course of his years-long stay at the shelter, Dodger had become one of the most beloved dogs there. No one could understand why it was taking him so long to find a forever home.

“He’s the sweetest dog in the world — just a total lovebird,” Danny Bress, a shelter volunteer who cared for Dodger, told The Dodo. “You take him for a walk and when you come back you basically have to cuddle with him for at least 15 minutes.”

Dodger had been adopted a month before, but was recently returned due to conflicts with the adopter’s landlord. When the shelter staffers chose Dodger to be featured that morning they had hoped the publicity would help the dog finally find a family — but no one could’ve guessed just how amazing his adoption would be.

Lucy Fraustro kisses Dodger the pit bull
Best Friends Animal Society

Fraustro herself couldn’t believe the reunion was real.

“When I saw him for the first time I cried. I was overwhelmed with joy,” Fraustro said. “It felt like a dream.”

Lucy Fraustro reunited with her lost dog
Best Friends Animal Society

Just hours after Dodger’s TV appearance, the smiley dog was finally leaving the shelter for good.

And even though years had passed since he last saw his family, he knew it was meant to be.

“Dodger was getting ready to go and it was so funny, it was like he knew he was going home,” Bress said. “As soon as they started walking out he started walking out, and I was like, ‘Buddy, you’re not even looking back?’ And he was like, ‘I’m out of here.’”

Lucy Fraustro re-adopts her missing dog
Best Friends Animal Society

It's only been a week since their emotional reunion, but Dodger has adjusted quickly to his new “old” life, and is letting his personality shine.

“He was a little shy the first day back home, but now he's getting used to us,” Fraustro said. “He loves hugs, cuddles and belly rubs. He's great with little kids. I'm so lucky to have a dog like him.”

Now that Dodger has miraculously found his way back home, his family is never letting him out of their sights again.

“Having Dodger back in my life feels like a piece of my heart came back,” Fraustro added. “I feel like the luckiest girl alive.”

To help more dogs like Dodger find a home, you can make a donation to Best Friends Animal Society.