04/10/2014 02:43 pm ET Updated Apr 10, 2014

Dog Missing Since 2007 Reunited With Owners After 7 Years

Welcome home, Buddy!

A black Labrador retriever who went missing during the 2007 California wildfires has finally found his way home. The dog was reunited with his owners in San Diego on April 1 thanks a $10 microchip the family had implanted in the pup as a precaution, according to Fox 5.

(Story continues below)

John Hartman and his wife, who have since moved to Oklahoma, were visiting their son in the southern California city earlier this month when they received an unusual call from the county's Department of Animal Services. A passerby reportedly found the Lab wandering near Imperial Beach and brought him into a local animal shelter. When workers scanned the dog's microchip they realized the lost pup belonged to the Hartmans and had been missing for nearly seven years.

"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," Dan DeSousa, deputy director of San Diego's Department of Animal Services, told County News Center.

The Hartmans, who lost their home in the wildfires, weren't sure what happened to Buddy after the blaze. Though someone initially found the pup at the time, he escaped and was last seen in the area of Imperial Beach in late 2007. It seems Buddy found a new home, and may have gotten loose when he was spotted on March 28.

"He's in really good health. Whoever had him took really good care of him," Hartman told CBS 8.

Earlier this month, another Labrador who went missing shortly before Hurricane Sandy was reunited with his family after 17 months.



13 Awesome Animal-Human Reunions