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Owner has emotional reunion with 16-year-old dog after he went missing for 7 years

Jessie Springer from New Mexico flew across the United States to be reunited with her dog, Nugget, who vanished seven years ago.
/ Source: TODAY

A New Mexico woman flew all the way across the country to be reunited with her 16-year-old dog who vanished seven years ago.

Jessie Springer of Farmington, New Mexico, looked for her dog, Nugget, for years after he disappeared, but eventually gave up hope that she'd ever see him again, according to NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville.

That all changed when she was contacted by a woman named Jennifer, from Travelers Rest, South Carolina.

Jennifer had recently found an old, injured dog limping in the rain in the middle of a road and had taken him to a nearby emergency vet to be treated.

The vet discovered the dog was microchipped and had an interesting history, WYFF reported. His name? Nugget. His home? Nearly 2000 miles away.

Springer received the text that her dog had been found, and she was shocked.

“When Jen texted me, I was like, 'Wait, what?'” Springer told WYFF. “This dog never left my side, so I thought he had, like, walked off to die because he was already old.”

Jesse Springer said she was happy to have 16-year-old Nugget back in her life for "the last few years that he has."
Jesse Springer said she was happy to have 16-year-old Nugget back in her life for "the last few years that he has."WYFF News 4 via YouTube

Carolina Loving Hound Rescue, a rescue organization based out of Greenville, South Carolina, stepped in to help fly Springer to Greenville, where she was reunited with her long-lost pooch.

“We have reunited animals that have been gone for a week or a month, but typically within a 100-mile radius, but nothing like this,” Angela Gschwind, who works for Carolina Loving Hound Rescue, told WYFF.

“A lot of times people find dogs on the side of the road while they’re on vacation and take the dogs out of town and out of state, and don’t get them checked for a chip. Nine times out of 10 they’re within walking distance from their homes," added Gschwind.

Springer and Nugget had an emotional reunion, caught on camera by WYFF. As soon as Springer saw Nugget, she burst into tears. She then gave Jennifer, the kind stranger who found her dog, a big hug.

No one has any idea how Nugget traveled from one side of the U.S. to the other. The senior dog now has his own Facebook page. One cute life update lists his mysterious "move" to South Carolina in 2015.

All Springer knows is that she is thrilled to have Nugget by her side again. “I’m just thankful to finally have him home for, you know, the last few years that he has,” she said.