It’s always heartbreaking when a dog goes missing. You search everywhere, but at some point you start to accept you may never see your pet again.

But it’s important to not lose hope entirely: sometimes dogs return to us at the most unlikely times. Thanks to microchipping, lost pets can return to their owners months or even years after disappearing.

It was an especially remarkable reunion for one long-lost dog recently, who returned to his owners a whopping 11 years after his disappearance.

Angela Surrett, from San Antonio, and her daughter Marti loved their pet Shar Pei and Labrador retriever mix, Vader, but were left heartbroken in 2011, when Angela’s then-husband gave the dog away to a stranger without their permission, The Courier of Montgomery County reported. Vader was only 9 months old when he was taken from them.

Unfortunately, they were never able to get their dog back. And for over a decade, they thought Vader was gone for good.

“We always loved him. He’s just the sweetest, goofiest, silly little dog,” Angela told The Courier.

But recently, a miracle happened. Angela recently received a phone call she never expected: it was an animal shelter, telling her they had Vader!

It turns out Vader’s microchip still listed Angela’s phone number and identified her as the owner. Vader was recently found extremely malnourished and underweight, and was taken to Conroe Animal Shelter.

The shelter did not have any room in their kennels, so it was lucky that Angela was still identifiable as the dog’s owner — and that after all these years she was still thrilled and eager to have her long-lost friend back.

According to Conroe Animal Shelter, the family drove 8 hours round trip to reunite with Vader.

“I do believe the universe works in strange ways and that things are meant to happen,” Angela told The Courier. “He’s meant to be here. He’s meant to live out the rest of his days being very spoiled and loved.”

It’s not clear what Vader has been up to all this time, and after more than 11 years he’s spent most of his life away from home. But his family is determined to make up for lost time.

“Whatever his journey was, I felt responsible because if he had lived with me that whole time, he would have been cared for, he would have had a great life.”

And even after so long apart, Vader seemed to recognize his old family, and reportedly “perked up” and wagged his tail upon seeing them.

Despite the malnourished state he was found in, Vader has reportedly gotten his health back and is settling well back into his old home.

“All we can do from here on out is make it up to him,” Angela said. “He’s just settled right in. It’s almost as if he never left, except he’s now a little old man.”

What a miracle. We’re so glad Vader has finally made it home after more than 11 years missing!

It’s a reminder to get your pets microchipped — that’s what makes reunions like this possible, even after more than a decade!