Kerry Browning had given up hope of getting her pet dog back, as she was reported stolen in 2010.
So she was overjoyed when she received a call out of the blue to say that Rio a female Staffordshire bull terrier, was waiting to be collected.
Rio is now being spoiled and she is recovering well following initial treatment. She was in a very poor condition when she was handed in to a vet in Blyth.
Animal welfare officer Gemma Fowle played a key role in returning her to her owner as the Northumberland County Council employee had to make a few phone calls before getting the correct phone number.
Kerry got Rio at eight weeks old and she had her for two years before the dog disappeared.
“It was some time in the summer of 2010 and she was in the garden – I had been going in and out of the house and it was a big shock when I went out to the garden and saw that she wasn’t there,” she said.
“The gate was shut and she wouldn’t have been able to jump over the fence, so I was fairly sure that someone had taken her.
“I had completely given up and assumed that I would never see her again, so I couldn’t believe it when I received a call from the animal welfare officer.
“When I arrived at the vets, I was overjoyed to see her.
“However, it was sad to see the state she was in and she has obviously had litters of puppies during the seven years.
“It’s lovely to have her back and it’s extra special because she has been away for so long.
“Now that she is receiving treatment, Rio has got her bounce back and her tail never stops wagging.”
Kerry lives in Blyth with partner Keith McVittie. The couple have five other dogs so Rio is recovering at Kerry’s house in Newcastle.
Her son and his friend live there and they have been ‘spoiling her rotten’.
Gemma has been thanked because when microchip company Identichip was contacted, it had an old phone number for Kerry.
But Gemma got her current number after calling the council tax departments at a few local authorities.
Coun Glen Sanderson, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We were delighted to be able to reunite Rio with her owner after all these years. It just goes to show the importance of microchipping your pet.
“Every year, around 250,000 pets go missing across the country and microchipping greatly increases the chances of them being found.
“People should also remember that, by law, they must make sure their dog has a microchip implanted by the time it’s eight weeks old or they could be fined up to £500.