Losing a pet is one of the most devastating and frightening things that animal lovers can go through, and April Licata and her family went through it last year when their beloved pug, Piper, escaped during a trip outside to pee.

The whole family took it hard when they realized Piper was nowhere to be found, but April’s son Carter was particularly sad. Piper had been a gift for Carter’s 12th birthday after years of wanting a black pug. Carter and Piper had a very special bond, and as the days passed without any success in finding Piper, the family’s hopes began to fade.

One day, however, the family got a Christmas miracle in the form of a call from the Genesee County Animal Shelter. The caller said that a black pug had been found and brought in, and sure enough, when April went to see if her greatest hope had come true, she was right — it was Piper! The sweet pug had been found and was finally able to be returned to her family.

April decided to surprise Carter with the return of his beloved pup, so she and Piper (complete with bows on her collar) waited for Carter to leave school one day. Piper seemed to immediately know who was coming to see her again, her curled tail wiggling with excitement as she saw Carter. And when Carter realized who was waiting for him… well, we’ll let you watch this heartwarming video for yourself. Get the tissues ready!

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