A family in south-central Kansas has a renewed sense of hope after they say their German Shepherd dog that ran away in November of 2010 returned to their care last week.

Jacqueline Horton’s dog Barron took off eight years ago with her mother and father’s German Shepherd, Tanner. Tanner returned home shortly after, but Barron did not.

“We had no idea what happened to him. We thought it was in November so during deer season, we thought he could have been shot by hunters or they ran off and he just got lost…Barron never really did have a great sense of direction,” Horton said.

A dog lover at heart, Horton was scrolling the local shelter’s Facebook page last Monday and saw a furry face that looked all too familiar. Feeling shock and disbelief, Horton phoned her brother.

“You may think that I’m crazy, and I may be crazy, but I think Barron is still alive,” Horton recalls saying.

Barron was not micro-chipped, but a woman found a German Shepherd on the side of the road near Caney and brought him into the Chautauqua County Animal Shelter in Sedan.

Horton was at the shelter within an hour but says the reunion was not what most would expect: there were a lot of barking dogs and she was still in a state of disbelief.

“Really it wasn’t until we got him back to the house that I knew without a doubt it was my dog,” Horton said.

Barron is following around Horton’s other pup, Piper, as he used to do before he disappeared. His best friend, Tanner, passed away two months ago so they never got a reunion.

But Horton says no bones about it, Barron is home.

“You can always tell by their eyes. I mean one look at him removed any sense of doubt I had,” Horton said.

While the last eight years of Barron’s life could remain a mystery, Horton believes his homecoming was with a little heaven-sent help from her father. Jack Horton passed away on New Years Day of this year, and never gave up searching for Barron. He stopped by the same animal shelter often before he passed away, in case Barron showed up.

“He would always tell my mom, you just never know. There’s just no doubt in my mind that he played a big part in Barron coming home,” Horton said.

Horton reports Barron is a little underweight and his muzzle has grayed, but otherwise he seems happy and healthy.