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Dog stolen 5 years ago reunited with owner who never gave up hope

WATCH ABOVE: A pug has been reunited with his owner five years after being stolen. Global’s Gil Tucker reports.

CALGARY – A long period of heartbreak has ended in a heartwarming reunion for dog owner Justine Holmlund.

“I never even knew he was alive til five days ago,” said Holmlund.

Holmlund last saw her pug, Tyson, in October 2010, when she tied him up outside a Calgary supermarket. She returned just a couple of minutes later to find he’d been stolen.

After an intensive search turned up nothing, she moved on, eventually moving to Thunder Bay, Ont.

Then last month, amateur pet detective Giovanna Carabella picked up the trail.

Dog owner Justine Holmlund (right) was reunited with her pug after five years, with help from amateur pet detective Giovanna Carabella (left).
Dog owner Justine Holmlund (right) was reunited with her pug after five years, with help from amateur pet detective Giovanna Carabella (left). Gil Tucker / Global News

A pug owner herself, Carabella volunteers her time to reunite people with their pets, explaining, “it’s very heartbreaking for someone to lose their animal.”

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Tyson was found wandering the streets in the town of Crossfield, 50 km north of Calgary.

The RCMP became involved, getting a warrant to get Tyson back. Police are now looking into charges against the people who had him, possibly for the entire five years.

Carabella traced Tyson’s tattoo and tracked  down Holmlund in Thunder Bay.

Carabella and Tyson were at the Calgary airport waiting when she arrived on Tuesday night.

Holmlund said Tyson seemed to remember her immediately.

“He was smiling, and then I picked him up and he was giving me kisses and everything,” she said. “It was awesome, definitely a highlight in my life. He’s been my best friend through good times and bad times.”

Holmlund’s planning on leaving Calgary Thursday, taking Tyson along with her back to Thunder Bay to resume life together.

“I couldn’t give up on him, ’cause he’s my little baby,” she said with a relieved laugh.