When Herlinda Lopez's 2-year-old boxer got out of her yard four years ago, Lopez didn't think she would see her again.
The dog, Nena, had a microchip. For about a year Lopez checked Craigslist, made posters, checked local shelters, but gave up hope. Last week Lopez received an unexpected email from the microchip company -- Nena had been found and was at Pima Animal Care Center.
"It was like the greatest present for me," Lopez said. "I thought she was gone. But she's a great dog, I knew no one would be neglecting her. She's too sweet."
Nena was found around 1:45 a.m. the morning of June 30th by Stephanie Caler in Oro Valley. Caler was on her way home when she saw the dog wandering around near 1st Avenue and Lambert. At first she thought the dog was a coyote.
That night there was lots of heavy rain, Caler said, and she knew she had to help the animal.
"She had her tail wagging, and I just put her in the car because it was raining and it was cold," Caler said.
Caler brought Nena to her house and fed her. She called the non-emergency line with the Oro Valley Police Department and an officer came to help. Eventually PACC officers took the dog to the shelter where they found the microchip.
Nena was wearing a collar at the time Caler found her, but there was no ID tag. When she was originally lost, she wasn't wearing an ID tag. It's likely someone has been taking care of her for the last few years.
When Nena escaped, Lopez was living near 6th and Ajo and she somehow ended up in Oro Valley.
This week animal shelters are expecting a huge influx of lost animals, as many get scared and run away during the 4th of July fireworks and monsoonal storms.
Experts urge people to not only microchip their pets, but regularly update your contact information with the microchip company. Also, put collars with ID tags on your pets.