ORANGE ( — An Orange County family reunited with their dog last month after he went missing in Arizona more than a year ago say his return offers new hope to their family.

Meko, the O’Brien Family’s 4-year-old Brussels Griffon, vanished during a family vacation in Parker, Arizona.

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“I woke up and I wondered where Meko was,” said 7-year-old Mady O’Brien. Her family looked for him everywhere, putting up signs and praying for his safe return.

“He was just gone,” said Mady’s mother, Dana.

Mady was devastated never forgot her best friend. But everything changed in May, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“It’s been a rough six months,” Dana O’Brien said.

After an intense surgery, almost 30 chemotherapy and radiation treatments and countless hospital visits, Mady struggled to walk again.

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Last month, Dana O’Brien got a phone call as she and Mady were on their way to another round of chemotherapy. The Yavapai Humane Society was calling to say Meko had turned up on the streets of Prescott, Arizona.

A microchip led volunteers to the O’Brien’s phone number, and James O’Brien made the 400-mile trek to pick him up.

“Meko’s back,” Mady said, smiling.

For Mady’s parents, Meko’s return was more than just a story of a girl and her dog. They believe his return was one almost impossible prayer answered, and now they have one more to go. Mady O’Brien has three more rounds of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

“We can just move forward, it’s the start of things going right,” James said.

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“This was, you know, kind of the answer that things are going to be okay,” Dana said. “This was good news that our family had gotten and that it would be the start of more.”