After his dog, Pifis, made national news when he was spotted and rescued from a Lake Michigan ice floe, owner Nerijus Steponavicius was finally reunited Monday with his 3-year-old Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever.
The reunion had been a long one in the making: Pifis first went missing Feb. 13 when Steponavicius said the dog got loose while his landlord was doing maintenance work on his Wicker Park apartment.
After going into "missing dog" mode — casing the neighborhood, putting up posters, calling friends — it was more than a week before Steponavicius caught a break in his search.
Turns out, someone else had already found Pifis: 37-year-old Dave Kehnast spotted the dog from his apartment on Feb. 22 and noticed the animal was seemingly trapped on the ice in Lake Michigan, hopping from one ice floe to the next.
Kehnast grabbed his kayak and a wetsuit for a stunning water rescue of the frightened animal telling Fox Chicago at the time, "I wanted the dog to live just like any other person out here watching him. I have the gear, I have the equipment, I would have been beating myself up if I had just sat there."
Crowds of people reportedly gathered on the shore to watch the hourlong rescue unfold, and by then Steponavicius' friends and family were buzzing about the news, reports WGN.
"I was on my way from school and I got a call from my sister, my mom," Steponavicius told NBC Monday. "People were calling me and texting me. I came home and checked the website and saw the picture and knew right away it was him."
After the spirited pooch was listed in good condition and ownership was verified, Steponavicius was originally turned away from Animal Control and told to return during business hours; he had to wait until Monday to reclaim his pet due to a city ordinance requiring lost dogs be neutered before they're released, reports the Tribune.