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Watch: a single sniff and dog knows he's reuniting with his long-lost owner

Pakita the abandoned dog at ARCA animal sanctuary dog-happy
© Arca Animal del Ptdo. de Mar Chiquita - Facebook

Two years ago a stray mongrel dog was dropped off at the ARCA animal shelter in Buenos Aires. The dog was reportedly unowned and untagged. What no-one knew was that Pakita’s owner was still desperately searching for her and was not willing to quit.

By Nick Whittle , 14 Sep 2019

The workers of the animal refuge in the Santa Clara del Mar province of the city welcomed Pakita with open arms. Despite the shelter at breaking point with stray dogs there was always room for another.

Under the misapprehension that the dog was a stray, the shelter began to advertise the dog as available to be rehomed. However, Pakita's age went against her because, as one of the volunteers for the shelter told The Dodo, “People prefer puppies.”

For two long years Pakita lived at the shelter. Unable to be rehomed, the staff grew ever fonder of her.

Meanwhile Pakita’s owner Ariel Naveira grew ever more despondent.


ARCA continued to post pictures of Pakita in the hope that a well-meaning family would prefer to adopt an older dog. By luck Naveira’s mother was searching pet rehoming sites on line when she spotted Pakita.

Immediately, we get a message from a woman saying that the dog was her son's and that he had been looking for her!Ferreyra said.

Naveira rushed to the shelter to find Pakita sitting on her own. Although she was clearly well looked after she looked sad and lonely.

Their first meeting was heart-wrenching. Pakita did not recognise her owner and was nervous around him. The two appeared to be no more than strangers.

It wasn’t until Pakita ran her nose across Naveira’s palm that her memory of him returned. From then on it was the happiest of reunions, and the pair reunited after so long were again inseparable.

It was beautiful,” Naveira told The Dodo. “I was sad to lose her, but to get her back was spectacular. There are no words to describe it.”