Woman reunites with lost Chihuahua after 2 years

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SAN DIEGO — A Normal Heights woman who believed her long-lost Chihuahua was a dog gone for good was overjoyed to get the pooch back after two years, thanks to a microchip.

“I started crying,” Paola Perez said Tuesday about the fully unexpected homecoming of tiny Papi. “I couldn’t believe it. He knew me. He was jumping on me.”

When a worker with the county Department of Animal Services called Perez on Saturday to give her the good news, she thought it was a mistake until she actually was face to face again with the pet that disappeared in June 2013.

The little brown-and-white dog vanished from the family home in Bonita after squeezing through a small hole in a fence. Despite posting fliers, knocking on doors and calling shelters, Perez was unable to find Papi.

Fortunately, she had taken the advice of an employee at an animal-care facility and opted for an identifying microchip for her pet. Just 90 minutes after someone brought the wayward canine into a shelter, he and his owner were reunited.

“I’m very thankful to the lady who recommended the microchip,” Perez said. “I think every dog needs to get it. It’s just amazing how it can work after two years, just amazing how they can track me down.”

Microchips are “the best way to reunite animals with their owners,” said county Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson.

“The chip itself is smaller than a grain of rice, and getting one doesn’t hurt the animal one bit, yet it’s made all the difference in bringing hundreds of lost pets and their owners back together again,” Danielson said.

County Animal Services offers microchipping from 1 to 3 p.m. every Thursday at its facilities in Bonita, Carlsbad and San Diego. The cost is $10, which includes registration.

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