Kodak, a pit bull mix, went missing from his Indianapolis home last year when a neighbor accidentally set him loose, and he is finally back in his loving guardian’s arms, who happens to now live all the way in southern California. Kodak’s guardian, Derrick Maxwell, owes it all to a pilot who flew his dog over 2,000 miles to their reunion.

Maxwell adopted Kodak from an animal shelter last year, and the devastated pet parent searched for his beloved companion for several weeks to no avail. When he moved to California, he had no choice but to go without his lost dog.

To his surprise, Maxwell received an email on his birthday from Kodak’s microchip company, letting him know that his dog was doing well at an Indiana animal shelter. Commercial airlines refused to fly Kodak to Maxwell’s new home, however, due to their policies against transporting so-called “aggressive” breeds.

Various organizations, including the ASPCA and Pet Rescue Pilots, stepped up to privately transport Kodak from Indiana all the way to California, and they generously covered the cost of the flight. By the looks of this heartwarming video, it was all worth it and the best birthday gift Maxwell could have hoped for.

dog and guardian reuniting