They say there's no place like home for the holidays — and a dog named Zeus had quite the journey to make it back in time for Santa's trip down the chimney.
In late October, the pitbull-mix was discovered in West Virginia, 2,000 miles away from his home in Butte, Montana, CBS affiliate WOWK-TV reported earlier this month. The pup was allegedly stolen by a family friend staying with his owner, identified as Cassandra by WOWK-TV, and her two young daughters.
"It seems Cassandra who is a single mom in Butte, Montana, allowed a family friend to come stay with her for a bit," Chelsea Staley, with the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association, told WOWK-TV. "The 'friend' basically robbed her blind, stole her wallet, a number of things while she was at work including her dog Zeus. The friend was apprehended in Nitro, and when he was arrested Zeus was still with him."
The association discovered the pet was microchipped, and learned he was Cassandra's beloved pup. They wanted to return him to his owner, but the 73-pound Zeus was "too big" to fly commercially, according to Staley. So the organization decided that a team of volunteers would transport the dog across the country. A group called Many Paws Volunteer Transport coordinated the journey, which involved dozens of volunteers lending a hand and their cars, according to WOWK-TV.
"It's wonderful. This is a great experience, a great opportunity to show the people and communities across the United States offering to help, jumping on this — to help reunite this dog with its family," Jenn Robles, a volunteer with Many Paws Volunteer Transport, told WOWK-TV.
After almost two months away from his family, Zeus made it back to Montana on Monday night. The incredible reunion, captured by FOX/ABC affiliate KWYB-TV, showed the pup happily licking the family as the young girls scream in excitement.
"Happy Zeus-y, Happy Zeus-y. I missed you," exclaimed one of Cassandra's daughters during the special moment, as her mom smiled through happy tears.
Zeus seemed pretty excited to be home himself, if his nonstop wagging tail was any indication.