There were hugs and barks of joy for Melissa and her daughter’s dog Hope, who she rescued.

After being thousands of miles away, they reunited at the Cortland County SPCA on Tuesday.

“For us, it’s kind of a Christmas miracle,” said Emily Bach, Cortland County SPCA shelter manager. “We were really excited. It’s a story unlike any we’ve seen here at the shelter.”

Hope ran away on I-81 when she was traveling with Melissa’s friend.

“The freeway was shut down and they had to pull over, and when they pulled over the dog got out,” said Bach. “They say she’s a runner and they chased her down the freeway for some time.”

Later that night, the SPCA received a call about a loose dog in Marathon, and the shelter’s law enforcement officer came to the rescue with help from the community.

“She walked really well on a leash, and she could sit, so I knew she had someone who was teaching her something, paying attention to her and caring about her,” Kathi Maxson, a Cortland County SPCA law enforcement officer. “I didn’t want to get too close. It’s too hard to say goodbye sometimes.”

That bittersweet moment came about two weeks later, after Melissa saw Hope was safe at a shelter through the Lost Dogs of the Finger Lakes Facebook page. However, the time leading up to the reunion was a difficult one. Melissa is a truck driver from out West, and finally had a route to her long-lost pet.

“It’s been an event, but we made it work,” said Melissa. “I appreciate you guys for taking good care of her.”

Melissa says no distance could keep them apart, and now she can hit the road again with Hope by her side.

For those interested in donating or adopting animals, head to their website.