I found this reunion story on the website of New Leash on Life and wanted to share it here. I think it makes it clear why returning a pet to its family is the right thing to do for all concerned including the pet.
Just wanted to share this with you, it's things like this that make you smile and keep you going. I just got off the phone with Max's owner. To put it mildly, they are overjoyed! They got Max in 1995. They thought they would never see Max again, they were sure he was dead, (he is 11 and a bit overweight). Another pet was found still in the yard on October the 2nd, almost a skeleton and exhaling oil fumes with every breath. He is in a hospital and is very ill. When I spoke with them on Saturday they couldn't believe they might get Max back. They were worried after everything he went through and the time away, he might not remember them. When the crate was brought in at the cargo terminal, they could see him and called his name. He almost broke the crate open with excitement. They had an hour ride home from the airport and called to let me know he arrived safely. They kept repeating, "He is so happy." I know that if we hadn't found them Max would have been adopted and probably had a nice life but now he can spend his remaining years with the only family he's ever known. They are right, he is "so happy."