TOPEKA (KSNT) – A local animal shelter reunited a pup with its owners two years after parting ways.

Helping Hands Humane Society posted on its social media a story of owners who thought their pet was gone, but it was just on the other side of state lines. Panda came to the Topeka shelter as a stray on Aug. 18. Helping Hands staff tried to help the dog, which had serious injuries, but it was too scared to let anyone close, according to the post. The Helping Hands intake department was able to scan for a microchip in the pup and found his owners. This microchip was able to provide the owners information for Helping Hands to know who to reach out to.

Panda’s owners shared with Helping Hands staff that they live in Colorado and reported him missing in that state in 2021. His owners and shelter staff are have no idea where Panda’s been the past two years or how he made his way to Kansas.

According to the social media post, Panda’s owners drove throughout the weekend to retrieve their long-lost pet on Sunday, Aug. 20. Shelter employees thought it would take some time before he adjusted back into their family, but once he sniffed his family and heard them speaking Spanish commands he’d learned as a pup, Panda recognized them immediately.

Helping Hands Humane Society told 27 News this story of a reunited family is a great example of why microchips are important. Helping Hands offers microchipping for your pets for $20, no appointment necessary.