A rottweiler dog which ended up in a Taranaki pound has had a happy reunion with its Rotorua owners a year after being stolen.
South Taranaki District Council animal services officer Shirley Hayward said the dog was healthy and well fed, but had no identification when it arrived.
As a matter of routine he was scanned and to the surprise of staff had a microchip which gave contact details of his owners in Rotorua.
However, Ms Hayward said the phone number provided by the microchip no longer existed and it turned out the family had moved address.
She then contacted an animal control officer in Rotorua and discovered the dog had been stolen while the family were holidaying in Taranaki.
After making some more inquiries Ms Hayward managed to track down its owner, Tracey Davison.
"I had to spend some time convincing her I wasn't making a crank call. Once she realised I was for real, she was over the moon," Ms Hayward said.
Along with her son, she travelled to Hawera and found the dog was as happy to see them as they were to see him again.
"Dogs don't forget," Ms Hayward said. "His whole body wagged with sheer excitement as he dashed about frantically licking everyone."
She said the family had been keeping in touch via text message since they returned home with the dog and were grateful they had had him microchipped.
The South Taranaki District Council said the dog thief had not been caught.