Family reunited with dog lost in Hurricane Sandy at shelter

'Reckless' had been rescued as a stray in New Jersey

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The Independent US

A family who thought they had lost their dog forever when he disappeared during Hurricane Sandy have been reunited with their pet.

After giving up hope more than a year after the devastating storm in the US, they visited a shelter to find a new dog.

But the first animal they saw looked very familiar.

“He was a little bigger than I remembered because they had fed him well,” Chuck James said.

“But then he was laying on my wife's feet, and I knew it was him...I was in disbelief. I know this dog is meant to be with our family.”

Mr James and his wife Elicia said they searched for Reckless, a brown and while pit bull mix, for months after the hurricane in October 2012.

“We reported him missing and called the shelters periodically, just hoping they had him,” Mr James said.

“We always kept our hopes up, but eventually it's time to move on.”

The family, from New Jersey, had planned to get a new dog as a 10th birthday surprise for their daughter.

When they went to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) on Thursday, they saw Reckless in the first cage they looked at.

A friend sent over a picture showing the family with their dog before Sandy hit the Jersey coastline so they could prove the dog was theirs.

“We're all so happy to have him back,” Mr James said.

“Thank God they didn't put him down because this would have been a different story.”

Officials from the charity said Reckless was picked up as a stray and has now been microchipped.

The family is living in a hotel while storm damage at their home is repaired and have gone a camping trip to celebrate their dog’s return.

The hurricane, also called "Superstorm Sandy" and the "Frankenstorm" because of its proximity to Halloween, killed more than 200 people and laid waste to parts of the Caribbean, the US East Coast and Canada.

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Hurricane Sandy's trail of destruction
New York flooded and Manhattan in darkness