RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) —   A homeless man gave up the dog he’s been caring for for six months so she could be reunited with her family.

The dog’s family is happy to have her home. The homeless man had a bittersweet goodbye.

CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold spoke to the woman grateful to have her dog back — and in such good condition.

First, there was a joyous reunion complete with hugs and lots of wet kisses.

Marilyn, a pit bull, had been missing for almost eight months.

She belongs to Alexis Moraza, who got the pup when she was just 8 weeks old.

“It’s real sad,” Moraza said, “because I have a child. And this was feeling like I was missing a child. My heart dropped, my heart went to my stomach [when she left]. I never thought I was going to get the call.”

Moraza was heartbroken, for months, not being unable to find her dog.

“She jumped on top of me and knocked me over,” said Moraza about their first meeting after eight months. “She was so excited, her tail wagging all over, just hitting chairs. Getting everyone out of her way to get to me.”

Marilyn had been living on the streets with a homeless man.  Animal Control officers found her living with the man in a parking lot in Riverside.

Officers told Weingold the man struggles to feed himself but somehow managed to keep the dog fed, watered and happy for six months.

“I am beyond grateful [to the man],” Moraza said, “for the fact he took her in, and was trying to care for her as best he could — and still trying to care for himself.”

Animal Control officers said they gave the homeless man a chance to say goodbye to Marilyn and he did so — for hours — before he was emotionally able to let her go.

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