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Dog missing since 2007 wildfires reunited with family

Published On: Apr 09 2014 03:44:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 07:39:12 AM CDT
Black lab Labrador retriever dog

iStock / SMImp

San Diego (KSWB) -- A dog who disappeared more than six years ago during 2007 firestorm that devastated San Diego has finally been reunited with his family.

John Hartman and his family not only lost their home during the fires, they also lost their dog, Buddy.

Nearly seven years after he went missing, a microchip implanted in Buddy helped authorities reunite him with his family, San Diego County Department of Animal Services officials said Tuesday.

Soon after the fires, someone found Buddy and took him to a veterinarian, but the dog escaped the facility, according to Hartman.

Hartman and his wife, who moved to Oklahoma after the fires, recently visited their son in San Diego and received a call from the county. Buddy was found running loose in Imperial Beach and someone picked him up and dropped him off at the Gaines Street Animal Shelter on March 28.

A microchip scan matched Buddy with to Hartman.

"We've reunited animals from across the country and even the world with their owners, but seven years is one of the longest time periods we were able to reunite a pet and its owner," said Dan DeSousa, deputy director of Animal Services.

The 10-year-old black Labrador retriever was picked up by his owners on April 1 and was headed to Oklahoma.

"The story could have had a tragic ending when the dog was lost during the wildfires, but the happy ending of this dog being reunited with its owner after moving from out of state can't be beat," DeSousa said.