When animal lover Maria Sanchez snapped a heartbreaking photo of dog owner Dave Thomas comforting his pet through the cage bars of a California shelter, she had no idea of the impact it would have.
Mr. Thomas had been unable to afford the fees needed to release two-year-old pit bull mix Buzz from the San Bernardino shelter, and was devastated at the thought of losing his pet.
But thanks to Ms. Sanchez's photo and the actions of some kind-hearted strangers, the pair have been reunited.
The heartbreak began when Mr. Thomas, 36, was arrested last Friday for failing to appear in court for a couple of minor traffic violations.
Police called animal control to take Buzz to the local shelter, and when Mr. Thomas was released from prison he was told that he needed to pay more than $400 in shelter fees. He had $6 in his pocket.
Fortunately for Mr. Thomas, photographer and animal lover Maria Sanchez was at the shelter at the same time.
She surreptitiously snapped a picture of the man stroking the dog's paw through the metal bars and feeding him Cheetos.
She told ABC: 'He was pouring water into his dog's water bowl, his dog sat there and licked up the water for about a minute, he sat down next to him and started weeping.'
Posting the photo to her Facebook page, Ms. Sanchez was inundated with offers from complete strangers who wanted to help Mr. Thomas get his dog back.
Having raised the funds needed, she then had to take to the streets to track down Mr. Thomas, even receiving a parking ticket for her trouble.
The dog's owner was eventually found on Monday night by a local news station and the pair were put in touch.
“God bless you darling”, an emotional Thomas told Sanchez via telephone, before the pair met again at the shelter.
Gotta love a happy ending.