A boy named Carter and his family suffered a great loss. His baby brother Jonah, passed away from cancer at 21 months. Carter’s mom, April, surprised him with a pup named Piper on his 12th birthday. April loved watching Carter instantly bond with the little black pug, who became “the love of his life” and helped him and the entire family cope during a very difficult time.

But just before Thanksgiving, the family from Byron, New York, let Piper outside to use the bathroom … and he went missing.

Carter was absolutely devastated. He and his sister Natalie searched endlessly for their beloved pet, but nearly three weeks passed by and they were beginning to lose hope.

It got to the point they didn’t think they’d ever see him again.

Then April received a phone call from the Genesee County Animal Shelter; someone had found Piper, and he was now in safe hands at the shelter.

The next time April picked Carter up from school, he had no clue who was waiting for him inside the car … just in time for the holiday season.