B.J. Ross came home for her lunch break Monday and found that one of her closest companions had died - a 15-year-old cocker spaniel named Bigsby.
She drove to the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society to get him cremated, she said Friday.
The sorrow she felt increased when she saw a man with a cocker spaniel of his own at the shelter.
Photo for the Mirror by Brandon Zeris
B.J. Ross sits at her home in Altoona with her dog, Samson, who she was reunited with after losing the dog nearly a year ago.
"I was heartbroken," she said. "He was my best friend and never left my side."
Ross said she lost her other cocker spaniel, Samson, on July 8 at her former residence in Juniata, and she had not been able to locate him.
After being escorted into adjacent waiting rooms at the Humane Society, Ross said her mom overheard the man say that he found the dog about a year ago in Juniata.
John Aurandt said he found Samson at Ward Trucking Co. in Juniata in a parking lot.
"Me and my boy went up and down the streets trying to find the owner," he said. "I thought he was stray, but my boy wanted to keep him."
Aurandt said Samson and his other dog did not get along well, leading him to bring Samson to the Humane Society to surrender him.
"They were aggressive toward each other," he said. "I just couldn't keep him."
Ross said after hearing Aurandt talk about the dog, her mom got up and looked through the window of the door separating their waiting rooms and told her to take a look.
"I opened the door and said, 'That's my dog.' I passed Samson earlier when we came in and didn't even notice. I was so distraught," Ross said.
After showing staff members pictures of Samson, she was permitted to take him, Ross said.
"They said I could take him," she said. "Five minutes later and he would have been surrendered."
Had the shelter been open earlier, Aurandt said this unlikely scenario may not have played out.
"I came in at 11 a.m., and they were closed, so I came back in later," he said.
Humane Society Volunteer Coordinator Tammi Ingham said the reunion was a miracle.
"I get the goosebumps just thinking about it. ... There are odd things that happen here, but nothing like that," she said. "It sure made my day."
Having Samson back, along with her other dogs Sidney and Ben, takes away some of the pain from losing Bigsby, Ross said.
"I'm so thankful," she said. "It made it a little easier."