A video shared by Maria Maciocia after reuniting with her dog has been viewed over 35 million times on UNILAD
. With her family's help, she planned a game of hide-and-seek with Sandy, who hadn't seen her for 7 months. It's an emotional roller coaster up until the very end.
We think it's safe to say Sandy missed his mom after all that time, and with good reason. The two have been together since Maria and her husband took puppy-Sandy home back in 2012. He was undernourished and had mites, but still had one heck of a spirit.
Unfortunately, that beautiful image did not last.
Maria's relationship grew into a "very toxic abusive marriage," she explained during a live stream video on Facebook.
Several difficult years later, she escaped her California home in the dead of night---Sandy in tow---and boarded a flight to her parents' home in Scotland.
It was an extraordinary act of courage and a very stressful trip for both of them, as Sandy was quite shaken after the long flight. As soon as they were safe and settled in Scotland for a time, Maria returned to America. "I was lost and depressed," she said, "and basically decided to move back... because I think I suppressed a lot of feelings and I had to face them."
I had to go back to face a lot of the fears and a lot of the hurt, and anger that I [had] left in California with my ex-husband, and I just needed to go it alone.
The video above was taken after this journey, when she returned to see her parents and Sandy for a week.
What many people want to know is why Maria didn't bring Sandy back with her, and why she refuses to do so each time she returns to America, where she currently lives in New York City.
"If I could take him back," she explains in earnest, "I would have. I would have taken him back but it wasn't fair... [T]he traveling and the hold was so stressful, oh my God... Sandy's a very emotional dog and he doesn't like it when people are shouting... It broke me, going on the plane with him. It really upset me."
It took a while for Sandy to settle back into a normal routine following the journey. He grew up with Maria in a very difficult environment. She believes that to move him again would not be in his best interest; in fact, Sandy absolutely adores Maria's parents. Her dad blends him fresh fruits and veggies to go with his kibble, Sandy snuggles on his lap, and the pup "takes turns" sleeping under their desks while they work from home.
When Maria and Sandy first arrived in Scotland, her parents forbid the pup to jump on any beds or furniture. According to Maria, it took just a day for them to change their minds.
"I would never take him back to America because he is happy here," she said. "My parents have given him an amazing life."
There is no doubt Maria loves Sandy just as much as he clearly adores her, and she will always do what is right by her dog.
[Sandy]'s had a traumatic experience like me. He's felt the pain like I've felt the pain and I think it's important that we both have a settled life.
Maria left more than just her life behind when she escaped her marriage. She also lost her home, her belongings, and her money. As she rebuilds herself as a newly independent woman, she does not feel she is in the best position to give Sandy the stability he needs.
"When I was at a very low point in my life," she told over 130 thousand viewers on Facebook, "he stayed by my side, he would look at me... and give me a reason to get out of bed."
In a very real and literal sense, Sandy is the reason Maria has been able to reach this point of happiness. Even separated, the pair frequently see each other in video chats, and Maria gets updates on Sandy from her mom every day. Sandy brings her parents "so much joy," just as he does for her each time she sees his face, and there's always another visit to come.
Until next time, Sandy.
h/t + featured image via Maria's Journey/Facebook