August 14, 2009 09:04 PM

Richard Rodriguez received quite the wake-up call early on Monday morning. A technician from the Riverside, Calif., County Department of Animal Services was calling about a stray pug that had been picked up over the weekend, which contained a microchip linked to the Rodriguez family of Santa Ana, Calif.

“We have a pug at home and so I couldn’t understand why someone from Riverside was calling me about my dog,” Rodriguez told the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. “Then they asked if we had ever gotten a dog in Tucson, Ariz., and then it all made sense. He was talking about Pearl!”

Pearl was a pug purchased by Rodriguez and wife Josie nearly four years ago. The tiny pup went missing just a month after the family brought her home. They assumed she’d been kidnapped, along with a neighbor’s Shih Tzu that disappeared at the same time, too. But on Sunday, Riverside County Animal Control Officer Jennifer Selter found Pearl as a stray, roaming the streets of the southern California city. After discovering the pug’s HomeAgain microchip, workers were able to check an online database, which led them to the Rodriguez family.

After receiving the fateful phone call, Richard and Josie drove right up to Riverside to greet their rescued pup. A happy ending, indeed!

More heart-warming tales on PEOPLE Pets:
Lucky Duck! Limping Duckling Wears Special Shoe
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