News & Politics

A Family Found Its Lost Dog at a Fairfax County Animal Shelter

"It was instantaneous—we knew that was his family."

The Martinez family reunited with their dog, Dante. Photograph courtesy of Fairfax County Animal Shelter

Three months after the Martinez family lost their dog after his collar got loose on a walk, they went to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter looking to fill the hole that Dante’s disappearance had left. After touring the shelter and not feeling that familiar tug at their heartstrings, they started to head home. Suddenly, a photo on the adoption board of a dog the shelter had named Soldier stopped them cold. “That looks like our dog, Dante,” one of the Martinez kids said.

A staff member brought the dog out for them to see. Dante went nuts. “It was instantaneous—we knew that was his family,” says Reasa Currier, director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. “He became a completely different dog, all wiggly and happy.”

Dante had come to the shelter at the beginning of August. He’d been found in the Clifton area without a collar.

Currier had expected the German shepherd–corgi mix to be adopted in a heartbeat: He was sweet and playful, and lots of families came to meet him. Fortunately for the Martinez family, there just hadn’t yet been that connection. The family only came into the Fairfax County Animal Shelter on October 16 because they recently moved to the area; they had no reason to expect that the move would bring them closer to their lost family member.

Dante went home with his family that day. The dog seemed overjoyed: Currier says his whole face seemed to be “a big smile.”

Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.