The word “traumatic” is probably an understatement when it comes to losing a cherished pet.

My wife told us a story of how her dog ran away from their new home in Midwood, Brooklyn, back to their old home in Coney Island, thankfully to have been found by a neighbor who called the family to come pick the dog up.

At the time, my wife was only 13, so to put it mildly, she was panic stricken.

Times that by about a thousand, and you can imagine the panic that the James family of Keansburg faced when they lost their beloved terrier-pit bull mix named Reckless in the wake of Hurricane Sandy – and the joy upon finding him in the nearby SPCA shelter nearly two years later.

Chuck and Elicia James were all smiles Friday afternoon as they walked their dog on a leash, preparing for a warm weekend of camping.

That's because walking their dog was something they haven't done for over a year and a half, ever since they thought they lost Reckless, their friendly brown and white terrier-pit bull mix, who was missing since superstorm Sandy.

But on Thursday, they received an unexpected surprise when they went to the Monmouth County SPCA to adopt a new dog; they found their old friend.

The James family — Chuck and Elicia and their children, Alexandra, Kelsey and Liam — were living in Keansburg when superstorm Sandy damaged their home during the night of Oct. 29-30, 2012. Chuck James said the fence in the yard was mangled during the storm and the dog got out.

A couple of weeks ago, Alexandra James turned 10, and the family decided it was time to get a new dog. On Thursday, they headed to the Monmouth Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in Eatontown and met with an adoption specialist to look at different dogs.

Once they were inside, they recognized Reckless and showed the adoption specialist pictures of the family with the dog to prove it really was their dog. In the end, they were able to take Reckless back home.

The family ended up paying a $180 adoption fee, which Chuck James had no problem paying.

"They took care of the dog, microchipped him, he saw a vet regularly, and (they) sheltered him," James said. "It was like bailing my dog out of jail."

Liz Wise, development and marketing director at the Monmouth County SPCA, said something like this happening is very rare.

"It's not very often we're able to reunite them with their owners in the way that this happened. It does happened sometimes, but this was a very rare story," Wise said. "It also shows the importance of microchipping your pets because had he been microchipped, we would've been able to reunite him with his family sooner."

"It's a wonderful story and a very happy ending for the family," Wise said. "It's something that really warmed our hearts and when we put it on Facebook for our followers, and we had no idea so many people would feel the same way."

It wouldn’t surprise me if the dog was trying to find its original owners before he was picked up by the SPCA.

But thankfully Reckless was picked up; and rare as it is, was reunited with its original owners.

No doubt a story with a very happy ending.

Reckless – against all odds - he who was once lost has been found

Today’s Ray’s Ray of Hope!

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