A toy fox terrier that disappeared from a family's south Florida home in 2007 has been found over 1800 km away in Pittsburgh and reunited with its owner.

The 14-year-old named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday, according to Humane Animal Rescue.

The property owner took the dog to a Humane Animal Rescue location, where staffers were able to locate a microchip and trace the dog back to its owners in Boca Raton, Florida, reports News.com.au.

The dog's owner, Katheryn Strang, drove all the way, on the 16 hour journey to Pittsburgh for an emotional reunion with Dutchess.

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Strang said she couldn't believe it when she got the call that her dog had been found after all these years.

Dutchess has been returned to her family, 12 years after she went missing. Photo / Humane Animal Rescue via AP
Dutchess has been returned to her family, 12 years after she went missing. Photo / Humane Animal Rescue via AP

She said her son opened the door after school one day and Dutchess got out and they never saw her again. They were living in Orlando at the time near a very busy street and she assumed the dog was either hit or scooped up by someone.

She checked shelters daily in the weeks after Dutchess went missing, and continued to pay the annual fee on the microchip, as well as update her contact information whenever she moved.

"They are like your babies. You don't give up hope," she said at a news conference after reuniting with Dutchess.

As she kissed and hugged her long-lost pet, she murmured to the dog: "Where have you been?"