Flagler Beach, FL – Eight days after going missing, it was a happy ending for Benito, as the two-year old puppy was reunited with his parents.

Becoming something of a local celebrity, he’d gone missing from his hotel room at The Topaz after Jeriel Tirado and Shelia Machado had gone to dinner, on a couple’s vacation in Flagler Beach while their children were visiting family in Puerto Rico.

“He’s so smart, he knows how (to) open the doors,” explained Tirado. “We go eat, we stay Benito in the room and when we come back, the door is completely open. We start searching around.”

Frantic, the couple began searching for him and were distraught after reports of him being hit were relayed to them the next day.

Returning to Orlando, the couple took the week off and returned to Flagler Beach, after locals pitched in and helped securing lodging and offered meals to the couple.

Scouring the area daily after hanging up handmade signs throughout the area, they watched social media groups as Benito’s picture received thousands of shares, engaged with users, while working with animal rescue to find Benito.

On Saturday night, a full week since he’d gone missing, they received a tip of a sighting at the Gamble Rogers State Park on the RV side but after rushing there, nothing. It was on Sunday morning Benito was discovered near Flagler Avenue and 23rd Street South near a swampy area.

Calling for Benito through tears, they squeaked his favorite toy and he ran eagerly toward his mother’s voice.

A momma’s boy, 2-year old Benito was glad to be back home with mom Shelia Machado and dad Jeriel Tirado after an eight day ordeal missing in Flagler Beach.

“When he sees his mom, he’s going crazy,” said Tirado.

“I cried,” said Machado, who called the kids to tell them the good news. “They cry too, everybody cry.”

Meeting at The Anchor Restaurant, where co-owner Sheryl Knopf had helped coordinate things for the family while searching for Benito, with The Anchor picking up their meals and Caroline Johnson setting them up with a rock bottom rate for a room at the Ocean Villas, and the community donating to cover the costs, it was a full court press by Flagler residents to help the visitors in distress.

“(It’s) just amazing how a community came together to help people that were visiting,” said Knopf. “We are a dog loving community for sure.”

As the couple sat down for an interview just hours after his recovery and a check-in with the veterinarian’s office, Benito seemed almost as good as new. Cleared for travel with some antibiotics, there were no broken bones, and no more broken hearts.

“I appreciate all of that. They make it possible we stay here because we (don’t have) that kind of money for stay the whole week. We planning going and back every day but, thank you for all the people that make that possible,” he said with gratitude.

Watch the live interview.