BONITA, Calif. - A dog that disappeared from the New Mexico/Texas state line three years ago was discovered in San Diego last week and reunited with his owner thanks to a microchip, the county Department of Animal Services reported Tuesday.
The 7-year-old Labrador retriever was found wandering in Otay Mesa on Thursday, and Animal Services officials contacted the girlfriend of owner Ricardo Dominguez on Friday.
Dominguez, a general contractor, drove from a job site in El Paso to claim his dog, named Brownie.
"He looks up through the door at me in my cowboy hat, and his eyes were (saying), 'Wow, is that you?'" Dominguez said. "His eyes went wide, and he went wild, started dragging the person on the leash, and he came and jumped on me and went crazy!"
He told Animal Services officials that he left Brownie at his Santa Teresa, New Mexico, ranch three years ago when he had to go to a meeting, and even though someone was there to watch over the canine, Brownie was missing by the time he returned.
Animal Services officials publicize such stories in order to tout the benefits of microchips, which are the size of a grain of rice and don't hurt the animal.
"I can't tell you how many times a microchip has made all the difference in reuniting a lost pet with his owner," said county Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. "We have success story after success story. It's such a small investment and the rewards are huge."
County Animal Services offers microchipping every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at all three of its animal care facilities. It costs $10 and includes national registration.