For three years after her beloved dog Dynamite was stolen from her store in Midway, Georgia, Candice Sauls never once gave up hope.
"I have my life put in him. My heart, my soul, everything is put in him," Sauls told WJCL. "I was going to look for him 'til I knew he wasn't going to be physically able to live anymore. It didn't matter."
She did all she could to bring the playful pitbull she bottle-fed as a puppy and who she describes as "one of her children" home.
But years passed without a sign of the black-and-white pup.
Then, a few months ago, Liberty County Animal Control found Dynamite abandoned a few miles away in Hinesville. According to WJCL, the now six-year-old dog had injuries to his face and body that indicated he had been forced into dog fighting.
Dynamite spent a month in the shelter until a friend of Sauls' at the nearby humane society recognized a photo of him.
Sauls rushed to the shelter. Even after 1,091 traumatic days apart, she told WJCL that she knew it was her boy Dynamite the moment they locked eyes.
"You can look into their eyes and know it," she said.
"He's a rare case because typically animals in those situations don't bounce back from that behavior," Director of Animal Control Steve Marrero told WJCL.
Dynamite is now back with his family and adjusting to home life.
"It's a miracle, it really is," Sauls told the local news station. "I've been told several times that you don't really get dogs back that have been put through what he's been put through and I would definitely tell people to keep hope for their children and their animals, they'll find them."