‘Christmas miracle’: Adoption event unexpectedly leads to missing dog reuniting with her family

It’s always hard to lose a pet, especially around this time of year. For some people, their only Christmas wish would be to have their pet home for the holidays.

But for one family, that wish came true, after an adoption event led to an unexpected “Christmas miracle.”

In June, Pasadena Animal Shelter took in a dog named Gertie. For reasons they couldn’t understand, no one wanted to adopt Gertie, and she ended up becoming one of their longest-stay dogs.


“None of us could understand why she was with us for so long,” the shelter wrote on Facebook. “She was an absolute sweetheart who loved everyone and always had that huge, ear-to-ear smile on her face when she saw you.”

Earlier this month, the shelter held an adoption event at Texas Roadhouse, and Gertie was one of the featured adoptable dogs. The shelter hoped that Gertie would finally find the perfect home.

It turned out, she did — just not in the way that they were expecting.

A pastor who was attending the event noticed Gertie and thought he recognized the dog. He realized that it could be a missing dog belonging to a family in his church, the Aldape family.

The pastor made a call, and the family rushed right over — and confirmed that Gertie was in fact their lost dog!

It turned out that “Gertie” was actually a long-missing dog named Cookie, who disappeared in June 2021.

“We looked for her everywhere, and I went to every house in our neighborhood,” owner Berenice Aldape told the Houston Chronicle. “We put out fliers, pictures, and I went around calling out her name, ‘Cookie, Cookie where are you?’ – it was like she just disappeared completely.”

The dog’s disappearance broke the family’s hearts: Berenice said she got her son a kitten but he still missed his dog so much.

She had given up hope of seeing Cookie again, but as soon as she arrived she knew the shelter dog was her own lost pet.

“When I saw her, I said, ‘Give me paw,’ and she did and I knew this was Cookie,” she told the Chronicle.

“We don’t have a lot of money for expensive presents, but even if we did and bought the most expensive things, we couldn’t buy what Cookie means to us,” she added. “This truly was our Christmas miracle.”

It was also a happy ending for the shelter. After months of seeing Gertie/Cookie struggle to find a family, they realized it was because she already had one waiting for her.

“It turns out, it might have been meant to be,” Jennifer Laird, marketing director at the shelter, told the Chronicle.