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New York woman's lost dog turns up 5 years later, 1,000 miles from home

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A New York woman whose dog went missing five years ago was reunited with the canine when the pet turned up at a shelter 1,000 miles away in Tennessee.

Jen Costa said her olde English bulldogge, Azzurra, went missing five years ago, shortly after she underwent surgery to have a cancer on her tongue removed.

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"My dad was watching her while I was in the hospital, but when I came home there, her and my other dog Bruno, they were there with me," Costa told WBBJ-TV. "About a month or two after my surgery she went missing."

Costa said Azzurra's disappearance contributed to a deep depression.

"It just made it a lot harder for me. I was really depressed. I just stopped caring. I didn't care what happened to me, you know. I wasn't as positive right after the surgery. It took me a while to get here mentally, but it was just a hard time," Costa said.

Costa said she was shocked when she was recently contacted by the Henderson City Animal Rescue in Tennessee and told that Azzurra had been found 1,000 miles from home. The shelter got Costa's contact information from the dog's microchip.

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"I was sitting in my barbershop chair getting a haircut, and I saw an email and I just started crying. He had to stop and hand me a tissue. He had to wait to cut my hair," Costa said.

Officials at the animal shelter said they were equally surprised by Azzurra's story.

"It was like, holy cow! How on Earth did this dog get over 1,000 miles away?" shelter spokeswoman Jan Morris told WNBC-TV. "You just want her to be able to talk and tell you what happened."

Costa made the drive from New York to Henderson and was reunited with Azzurra on Friday.

"She's going to get anything she wants. She's No. 1 right now, and she knows it. She'll know it soon," Costa said.

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