MISTY the maltese shih tzu is the poster dog for animal microchipping.
Four years after being reported missing from her home in the New South Wales township of Corowa, Misty was reunited with her owner in Ballarat yesterday.
Ballarat RSPCA inspectors discovered Misty at an address in Wendouree almost 400 kilometres from her home on Wednesday last week after investigating a cruelty report made by a member of the public.
The dog, now four, was taken to the Ballarat RSPCA shelter in Gillies Street, where a quick check of her microchip revealed her original owner Brooke Schilg had reported her missing four years ago.
A relieved Ms Schilg, who had been holidaying at Torquay last week, was informed late Friday that Misty had been found. It was an emotional reunion for Ms Schilg in Ballarat yesterday.
"(Misty) was only six months old when she went missing from our yard at Corowa four years ago.
"I was devastated, because even though she was just a pup, she was a big part of our lives," Ms Schilg said.
"After reporting her missing, we then travelled around the neighbourhood looking for her. After about a week of searching, I realised she was probably gone for good.
"When Mum called me on Friday while I was on holiday in Torquay, I couldn't believe it when she said Misty had been found."
Ballarat RSPCA inspector Charyn Symes, who found Misty last week, said her case was a good example of why pets should be microchipped.
"If someone finds a stray cat or dog, they can take it to a vet or RSPCA shelter for the microchip to be scanned.
"It could save a lot of heartache for owners of missing animals," Ms Symes said.
All cats and dogs must be microchipped before they can be registered with their respective council.