Not every 'missing pet' story has a happy ending, but one CNY girl is thrilled to be reunited with her beloved pet, more than two years after the cat ran off in a storm.

Two years ago, the Darby family of New Hartford was distraught: during a summer storm, a side door blew open and their daughter Riley's cat, Flip Flop, took off. Helena, Riley's mom, spent days walking the neighborhood, shaking a bag of cat food, calling for the cat - who they had since she was a kitten. She never caught a glimpse of Flip Flop.

For months afterwards, Helena would visit the Steven-Swan Humane Society, hoping against hope that Flip Flop would show up. She never did. Helena began to fear the worst, and her daughter Riley was devastated.

Credit: Stevens-Swan Humane Society
Credit: Stevens-Swan Humane Society

"Flip Flop would follow Riley everywhere. If Riley took a shower, Flip Flop laid outside the bathroom until she came out. She loved that cat."

Fast-forward two years to October 29, 2018. Helena was clicking through photos of adoptable pets on the Stevens-Swan Facebook page, when one cat stood out, named Franny. "It's hard to tell because she's a black cat, but Flip Flop always had dandruff. And this cat had dandruff."

Helena was hopeful, but didn't want to upset Riley if it turned out to be the wrong cat. "I couldn't sleep all night. I went to work the next day and counted the minutes until Stevens-Swan opened - as soon as they did, I called," Helena says. She hurried to Stevens-Swan.

"There were just so many cats. I said her name, and she didn't really react at all - but I really thought it was here. So they let me "foster" the cat so I could take her to Riley's school."

When Riley got home from school, she knew the cat was her missing Flip Flop. 

Helena says it will probably take a few days for Flip Flop to get back to her old self, but she's already been snuggled on Riley's bed, getting all the love she missed out on for the past two years.

That's a happy ending for Flip Flop and Riley Darby.

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