A Thunder Bay man has been reunited with his dog after losing him four years ago, thanks to the efforts of a Winnipeg animal hospital.

Mike Plas said he lost his dog Jack, when the husky and shepherd mix broke out of his perimeter collar at his home in the northwestern Ontario city.

“He was always more than just a pet, or a dog to me,” said Plas.

“We did everything together -- we went fishing together, went hunting together, he came to work with me half the time. I’d take time off work to celebrate his birthday with him.”

For years, Plas said he posted things online about Jack, hoping someone would find him. But he never heard anything about where Jack might be.

“Some days I’d get really upset, when I’m missing him a lot,” said Plas. “But I never lost hope.”

Last Thursday, Plas finally got the call he’s been waiting four years for. He said while he was at work, he received a call from the Centennial Animal Hospital in Winnipeg.

“They said they got a dog there and the microchip said he was mine,” said Plas.

“So I asked them to check and make sure the one eye had a bit of brow on it and one paw had a baby black nail.”

Plas said the hospital told him someone found Jack on a road near the hospital and brought him in, but he doesn’t know how he got to Winnipeg from Thunder Bay.

After getting the call, Plas made his way to Winnipeg to be reunited with his best friend.

“It was more joyful that anything I could ever experience again, I think,” said Plas. “It’s like my life went back to the way it was, the way it’s supposed to be.”

Plas said his life has never been the same since Jack went missing. He said the feeling of having him back is unexplainable – a feeling Jack seemed to share.

“When they opened up the door and he saw me, he started going crazy. He started crying, kissing me, rolled over on the ground and wanted me to pet his belly. His tail hasn’t stopped wagging for a while.”

Plas has started his journey back to Thunder Bay with Jack and said he hopes to get him back out for a fishing trip before the end of the season.

For now, he said they’re catching up on years of lost time and belly rubs.

“I think my girlfriend is kind of getting a little jealous because I’m only cuddling him right now, not her.”

Plas has two other dogs now and said his biggest challenge will be to make sure they all get along.