Mikah Gesler is still getting used to her new reality. Her dog, Oliver, needs painkillers just to make it through the day.
"I just don't want him to have any pain,” she told Action News on Thursday.
She says the Oliver, today, is not the Oliver she once knew. This isn't the Oliver she once knew.
"I was devastated when I saw him," said Gesler.
Her emotions this Thanksgiving are up and down. Her mind is stuck on Halloween 2006. That's when Oliver was stolen from her yard.
"My girls were 14 and 15 at the time so it was hard."
For 9 years, Mikah prayed that her dog would come home. She reactivated his microchip every year, not even knowing if he was alive.
Then a miracle happened.
On Nov. 19, a stranger found Oliver near the intersection of Stewart Avenue and North 14th Street. In 9 years the dog could have ended up anywhere, but that intersection is only 15 minutes away from its original home.
"I couldn't believe that he was really there," said Gesler.
She was in disbelief when she got a call from a local animal shelter saying someone dropped Oliver off. Staff members at the shelter were able to connect Oliver with Mikah through his microchip. Mikah reactivated the chip every year for 9 years, not knowing if he was alive or not.
The reunion was bittersweet. She says the dog was in such poor condition, she couldn't even recognize him.
She says, "He couldn't walk. He wasn't walking, and he wouldn't look up. I was crying because I was overwhelmed."
The one thing that's keeping her going motivated is the fact that Oliver still remembers his name.
"When I say Oliver, he lifts his ears up, and everybody's like no he's probably just listening to your voice, but then I say Miska, which is my other dog, and he doesn't respond at all."
Oliver is now twelve years old, but Mikah says every pet deserves to be loved regardless of its age.
"he needs to be comfortable and know that he's loved and taken care of in his last days."
Oliver has to undergo several surgeries that Mikah simply can't afford. She's asking for your help. If you’d like to help, head to gofundme.com/rescuingoliver.