Dog Lost in San Diego's 2007 Wildfires Reunited with Owners

Buddy the dog was separated from his family seven years ago during the devastating wildfires in San Diego but finally made his way back to his owners this month

They say every dog has its day. That’s especially true for a dog named “Buddy” who was recently reunited with his owners after going missing seven years ago when devastating wildfires ripped through San Diego County.

During the 2007 wildfires, John Hartman and his family were left without a home. The fires also separated the family from Buddy.

The black lab had been implanted with a $10 microchip about two years before the fires. Earlier this month, that teeny, tiny microchip helped Buddy find his way back into the arms of his owners in an emotional reunion in San Diego.

According to the San Diego County Department of Animal Services, someone reported finding Buddy loose in Imperial Beach last month. The dog was dropped off at the county’s Gaines Street Animal Shelter on Mar. 28, where staffers scanned the pooch for a microchip.

The microchip matched the long lost dog to Hartman.

Hartman and his wife are now living in Oklahoma. However, on a recent trip to San Diego to visit their son, they got a surprise call from the Department of Animal Services. On the other end, an official told Hartman something he never expected to hear: Buddy was back.

Last week, Hartman and his wife finally got their dream reunion when they picked up 10-year-old buddy from the animal shelter. They packed up their pooch and happily took Buddy with them back to Oklahoma.

Dan DeSousa, deputy director of Animal Services in San Diego, credits the microchip to the Hartman’s happy ending. He said the length of the dog’s time apart from his family makes this case unforgettable.

“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,” said DeSousa. “The story could have had a tragic ending when the dog was lost during the wildfires, but the happy ending of this dog being reunited with its owner after moving from out of state can’t be beat.”

DeSousa said Buddy’s tale should serve as a reminder to dog owners on the importance of microchipping pets.

“While a dog license is required by law, a collar or tag can easily be lost and that is why we encourage people to microchip,” he added.

To find out more about microchipping pets in San Diego, click here.

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