Dog reunited with owner after a month thanks to animal haven

 A dog who wandered away from his owner almost a month ago is back home tonight with her owner.

The two would not have been reunited if not for the efforts of The Almost Home Animal Haven in Southfield.

"We don't discriminate against the age or breed," said Marla Weingarten of Animal Haven. "Every dog is equal to us and important."

The Almost Home Animal Haven has become a haven for pets who have nowhere else to go.

Workers there help care for them and find them foster families. And also, on rare occasions, help reunite them.

"This is an amazing story because we don't see this very often," Weingarten said.

A 10-year old husky nicknamed Hope  was brought to the shelter barely breathing and lethargic.

But $3,500 later in veterinarian bills along with constant care, she's on the mend.

"I'm just ecstatic," said owner Barb Machuca. "I never thought I would see my baby girl again." 

"I saw her at the shelter and I felt so bad, she was so sick," said foster parent Sara Bostwick. "I knew if she stayed at the shelter I knew she would never get better. I brought her into my home. 

"She's such a sweet dog I gave her,  her medication, her fluids. It's very rewarding being a foster parent for dogs."

It turns out Hope - whose real name is Nikki, unlatched the gate from her family's home in Detroit just days after they moved there from Kalamazoo.

They hadn't even unpacked yet when she wandered away and somehow ended up in Southfield.

"I think she is a cat in disguise," said Machuca. "She's got nine lives because she's been lucky more than once."

It was a lost pet ad with the Michigan Humane Society that ultimately led to Friday's four-legged reunion.

marla weingarten-almost home animal haven 

"I want to cry, it's amazing to know she was in a wonderful home after two weeks of being sick and going back to her original owner," said Weingarten. "Its amazing. I'm just so happy to be a part of it."

Nikki will celebrate the happy homecoming with a new squeaky toy -  her favorite. She will also get  to open up all her Christmas gifts that have been waiting for her.

If you'd like to learn more about the Almost Home Animal Haven or donate, go to
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