By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s Dr. Rian Maercks has an extra reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving, and it has four legs and a tail.

“In just a couple days he’s evolved from a skittish, strange behaving pup to the dog you see here that looks like he’s always been with me. He’s an amazing holiday pup,” Dr. Maercks said of his dog Schiele.

But he didn’t just meet Schiele a few days ago. They go way back– more than two years.

Schiele was rescued from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Dr. Maercks adopted him shortly after.

But just before Christmas that year, someone stole Schiele from an Aventura parking lot.

“He was asleep on the passenger seat, so I left the A/C on and the car parked right outside of West Marine. Walked in, got the grill, walked out and my window was smashed and my baby was gone,” Dr. Maercks explained. “So it was a horrible, horrible holiday season for me to say the least.”

Dr. Maercks was devastated, but willing to try anything to bring his dog home.

“I exhausted all measures. Hired a detective to try to help find him. Flyered all over. Chased all sorts of false leads to no avail. And after months I gave up. (I) thought he was gone for good or maybe something bad happened to him,” Maercks said.

Dr. Rian Maercks and Schiele (Source: Instagram)

Fast forward two years, and Dr. Maercks got a surprise phone call a few days ago from Miami-Dade Animal Services.

They told him they had his dog.

He asked for a picture because he couldn’t believe it!

But lo and behold, it was Schiele, much skinnier than he remembered, but safe and sound.

Schiele the dog (CBS4)

“I’m still in disbelief,” he said. “He’s an incredibly resilient animal.  He’s been through so much. The Puerto Rico storm. A crazy rescue. A new home. Getting lost and who knows what he’s been through in the last 2 years.”

Dr. Maercks says Schiele has a microchip and that’s how the shelter was able to track him down and bring the pair back together.

Lauren Pastrana