One in three animals will become separated from their owners during their lifetime. That is a statistic one local man knows all too well after losing his best friend way back during the Reno Rodeo. 

That was four months ago when John Humphreys says his pitbull puppy, Zoey, was stolen from the Reno Rodeo fairgrounds. He says he never thought he would see his dog again, but, thanks to a tiny piece of technology, he did.

Zoey is now right back where she belongs, by his side and never out of sight. John was heartbroken up until last week, when he received a call from the Washoe County Regional Animal Services. Humphreys was taken by surprise to hear Zoey was ready, waiting for him at the shelter. Fighting back tears, Humphreys says,"I was um, I'm sorry, when I got that call, my heart dropped because I didn't ever think I was going to see my dog again."

Animal Services tells us someone brought Zoey to a free vaccination clinic to change the microchip information on her tag after buying her from someone at a truck stop. That's when animal services realized she was reported stolen back in June. 

The family was shocked to hear they had unknowingly bought a stolen dog, so they immediately left the clinic to surrender Zoey to the shelter. They wanted her to be reunited with her rightful owner. 

Zoey's case is not uncommon, though. That's why Regional Animal Services encourages everyone to have their pets microchipped. Since 2012, they have offered free microchipping services to Washoe County residents. 

Shyanne Schull, Director of Regional Animal Services, says it has been a successful campaign. In 2016 alone, animal services microchipped 3,388 animals, including dogs, cats goats and horses. 2,938 animals were reunited back with their families due to the information provided in the microchip. Out of those, 1,137 were able to be reunited with their families in the field--without ever having to be impounded at the shelter for any period of time. 

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