Woman reunited with stolen dog after 5 years

August 18, 2013 (LAKE STATION, Ind.)

The dog turned up at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Phoenix, Arizona and it took a lot help to bring the dog and owner back together.

It's a moment Jen Koczan never imagined would happen. It's been five years since her then three year old Rottweiler Sasha disappeared. But now she is back in her owner's arms after a journey we will likely never learn the details of.

"I never thought I would see her again," Koczan said. "I thought about her all the time. I wondered what happened to her. I still have pictures of her. She was a part of our family."

Until she was stolen. Sasha turned up missing from Koczan's home in South Bend and despite efforts to find her, she had no idea where Sasha was until she got a call from animal welfare officials in Phoenix, Arizona a couple weeks ago that someone had turned Sasha in to them. Thanks to a computer chip, they were able to find Koczan.

"I don't know where she's been or who she's been with," she said. "I just hope that whoever had her gave her a good life before she ended up at the shelter in Phoenix."

But the saga was far from over. The shelter gave Koczan only a couple days to figure out how to get Sasha before they would euthanize her. That's where a volunteer organization called kindred hearts transportation connection helped. Staci Goveia brought Sasha to a park in Lake Station after a network of volunteers around the country each drove a portion of the way from Phoenix to Indiana.

"It's moments like this we do what we do, Goveia said. "Seeing the dogs back with their owners. Great."

It took two weeks and some 26 volunteers driving short segments of the trip with Sasha before she finally made it. But now that she's been reunited with Sasha, Koczan plans to keep her close.

"It's nothing short of a miracle," Koczan said. "Life's come full circle. Amazing."

Koczan lives in a new home now but much of the furniture and even her car are the same. And she expects Sasha will be right at home in no time.

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