In March 2021 there was a heart wrenching incident when Panda and his sister Nala vanished while playing in their backyard, in Colorado.
Diana Luna Torres, Pandas mother, shared with The Dodo that they were uncertain how they disappeared. While Nala returned the morning Panda was nowhere to be found.
The family tirelessly pursued every avenue to locate Panda. They distributed flyers, shared appeals on social media platforms. Combed through the neighborhood while calling out for him. Unfortunately their efforts proved fruitless as Panda remained missing.
Torres expressed how they never ceased thinking about him. They always wondered if he might still be close by. Sometimes they called out his name. Received pictures from people claiming to have found him.. It was never him.
Nevertheless despite the passage of two years since his disappearance in Colorado hope persisted within Pandas family. Their unwavering faith paid off when Panda was discovered all the way, in Kansas.
Helping Hands Humane Society took panda under their care without any knowledge that he had a loving family searching for him all this time.
Unfortunately whatever Panda experienced during his absence had an impact, on him causing him to become extremely fearful upon arriving at the shelter. The shelter staff had difficulty approaching him for most of the time. It took them a week before they were finally able to scan him for a microchip and contact his family.
Receiving that call and discovering that it was indeed Panda, with his chip number matching was truly incredible " Torres expressed. "We were overwhelmed with emotions. Initially we felt happiness and excitement. Our first concern was about his well being. We wanted to know if he was okay. They did mention that he wasn't being friendly. We also worried if he had experienced any trauma. We weren't sure if he was still his self."
The shelter advised Pandas family that he might be slightly different from how they remembered him. He exhibited fear towards everyone around him leaving uncertainty, about how he would react upon seeing his family. However despite the outcome Pandas family eagerly awaited bringing him home.
They made the journey, from Colorado to Kansas. Arrived at the shelter filled with hope brimming with excitement to reunite with their beloved boy.
As Pandas parents approached his kennel a collective breath was. In that moment everything changed when he caught sight of them.
"Panda had been barking at our staff whenever they neared his kennel making it clear he desired solitude " shared Emi Griess, the communications coordinator at Helping Hands Humane Society. ". Soon as Pandas parents approached we witnessed a complete transformation in him. He began whimpering with delight and wagging his tail fervently.. When he finally had the chance he leaped into their waiting arms demonstrating just how much he had missed them during the past two years."
Pandas reunion with his family brought tears to everyones eyes. In an instant his fear. He reverted back to his self.
With his parents by his side more Panda interacted happily with everyone, at the shelter. He allowed them all to pet him for the time as they bid him farewell. Wished him all the best.
Pandas family brought him home, to Colorado. He seamlessly settled back into their daily routine as if nothing had ever changed.
"Hes doing really now " Torres expressed. "It feels like he was never gone... Everything is exactly as it was when he left so I think his readjustment was relatively smooth."
Pandas family always held onto hope that they would reunite with him someday. It appears that Panda held onto hope well.