It was a reunion five years and 1,000 miles in the making — and one that Jen Costa had pretty much given up hoping for.
But it happened on Friday, when the Queens woman got to see her olde English bulldogge Azzurra Diamante for the first time since the pooch went missing in 2017.
"It was amazing. I mean, I just can't believe I'm here, that she's really here," Costa said.
The reunion took place in Henderson, Tennessee, a long ways away from the spot in Long Beach where Azzurra was lost in 2017. The dog had turned up in a local animal shelter back in November, and seemed to be in good health.
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"It was like, holy cow! How on Earth did this dog get over 1,000 miles away?" said Jan Morris, the shelter spokesperson. "You just want him to be able to talk and tell you what happened."
Morris doesn't know how the dog made it to Tennessee. She said that the microchip in the canine, who she didn't believe had been mistreated at any point and said was very loving, led the search for her owner back to Costa. After getting word that her beloved pet had been found, Costa drove from her home in Queens Village to welcome Azzurra back.
"I feel like I've been through a lot. I suffered a lot of loses. I lost my other dog in August to cancer," Costa said.
The moment was a sweet end to a long and difficult road for her. Costa is a cancer survivor herself, who lost her tongue to the disease, while shedding hundreds of pounds. She calls Azzurra her gift from God.
"This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime stories," Morris said.
Costa said that she and Azzurra picked up right where they left off five years ago. They'll return home to New York over the weekend, along with Costa's other dog, Pancake, as they resume the life they lost those years ago.