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Orange County couple are reunited with their lost dog -- four years later -- thanks to a microchip

August 11, 2009 |  7:30 pm

Pearl the pug

Four years ago, Santa Ana residents Richard and Josie Rodriguez bought a pug puppy, whom they named Pearl.  But they'd hardly had Pearl a month before she mysteriously disappeared.  The Rodriguezes suspect thieves were targeting purebred dogs in the area, becausea neighbor's Shih-tzu also went missing but no mixed-breed dogs seemed to.

They couple searched in vain for Pearl, but eventually gave up hope of ever finding her again. In time, they brought home another pug. Recently, they'd even considered expanding their family by getting a second pug as a companion for the one they already had.

Things took a strange turn Monday, when Richard awoke to a phone call from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services-- Pearl had been found running loose in Riverside on Sunday, and officers had tracked her back to the Rodriguezes using the microchip she'd been implanted with as a puppy. 

At first, Richard didn't know what to make of the information an animal control officer gave him. "We have a pug at home and so I couldn't understand why someone from Riverside was calling me about my dog," he said of his initial confusion at being told his pug was being held at a shelter in another county.

Where Pearl was for the four years she was missing is a mystery that will probably never be solved.  But, thankfully, she's now home at last -- the Rodriguezes went to pick her up the same day they received that fateful phone call from animal control. 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

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