By Kelli Bender / People
August 10, 2015

Sometimes the road home is a long and confusing one.

On Saturday, after nine years away from home, Boozer the boxer was reunited with his family at the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Colorado, reports 9News.

The 10-year-old dog ended up at the shelter after his latest owner, unable to continue caring for Boozer, made the tough decision to surrender the pet to Foothills.

As part of its routine, the shelter scanned Boozer for a microchip. The staff found one linked to a family in Tennessee and decided to follow up. The listed address led them to Lloyd Goldston, an Alabama man who lost his dog nine years ago while moving away from Tennessee.

After seeing photos of the boxer sent from the Colorado shelter, Goldston was so certain his beloved missing Boozer had been found that he and his two kids drove 18 hours to see the dog again.

“My reaction when I found out was I cried. Especially when they sent the first picture of him,” Goldston said.

The tears kept flowing when the Goldstons embraced their gentle giant of a dog once again. In the video of the reunion, Boozer seems to recognize his family instantly and rushes to greet them.

“I’m happy,” Goldston said. “He was never gone. He was always in our hearts. We never forgot him.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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