Lost Dog Can’t Contain His Emotion When He Smells His Favorite Person Again

“[T]ears of joy were immediately wiped away by his excited kisses.”

Last month, Santa Fe City Animal Services picked up a wandering puppy who seemed more lost than most other strays. They didn’t know how long he’d been out there or where he’d come from, but his dirty paws and tired face proved he needed help.

They drove him to Santa Fe Animal Shelter (SFAS), where a staff of caregivers instantly showered him with love.

The pup, whom they’d named Hopper, was friendly and loved being around humans. The staff wondered if he’d had a family, but he didn’t have a microchip or a collar, so they couldn’t be sure.

Unbeknown to them, there was someone far away desperately looking for him.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

A week before his arrival, Hopper was traveling with his parent, Roughiatou Sotelo — a truck driver from Maryland.

Hopper, whose real name is Panfilo, loved riding across the country with his favorite human.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

But during a stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the 2-year-old dog ran off without his parent. Sotelo searched for Panfilo for as long as they could, but they eventually had to leave the state empty-handed.

They drove back to Maryland without their beloved Panfilo in tow and spent the next few days scouring the internet for signs of him.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Back in Santa Fe, Panfilo was settling in nicely with his new friends at SFAS.

“While in the shelter’s care for 17 days, Panfilo was known as Hopper, and [he] received a full medical workup, enrichment that included pupsicles and frozen KONGs, and volunteers even began doing nose work with him,” SFAS wrote in a press release shared with The Dodo.

The shelter eventually put his picture under the “adoptables” tab on their website. Sotelo, still on the hunt for their beloved pup, recognized him instantly.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Sotelo dropped everything and caught the next flight to Santa Fe for the reunion they’d waited weeks for.

Panfilo bolted to the door as soon as Sotelo walked in.

“Today, Panfilo was reunited with Sotelo, [whose] tears of joy were immediately wiped away by his excited kisses,” SFAS wrote.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Panfilo couldn’t hide his emotions once he was back in his parent’s arms. He’d become great friends with the staff at SFAS, but there was nothing like being with his favorite person in the world again.

The little guy was elated.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Soon, Panfilo and Sotelo were back on the road together, headed toward their home.

The staff at SFAS miss having Panfilo around, but they couldn’t be happier that he’s finally back where he belongs.

“Stories like this make us all smile a little wider and remind us that pets are truly family,”
Pamela Weese Powell, SFAS's Director of Philanthropy, said in the press release. “We’re so grateful to be here as a resource to families and to our community.”

To help pups like Panfilo get the care they need, you can donate to Santa Fe Animal Shelter here.