A toy fox terrier named Nika was reunited with her owner on Friday after Marion County Animal Services says it tracked down her owner in New York by using her microchip.
Two-year-old Nika vanished from her owner Giuseppe DiBella’s front yard in Newburgh, New York two years ago. After searching for the dog with law enforcement, online and posting fliers for months, DiBella said he still didn’t lose hope.
“I never gave up,” he told Animal Services. “I kept wishing she was OK.”
Officials said Nika found her way to the front door of an Ocala home last week and was brought to a veterinarian. The staff scanned Nika, found a chip and called Marion County Animal Services with the stray dog and contact information for someone who lived in New York.
DiBella then received an email from Marion County Animal Services telling him his toy fox terrier was at the shelter.
“I didn’t even know where Marion County was,” DiBella said. “I was so surprised when I realized it was in Florida.”
“I was expecting the dog to be like in New York City or a couple miles from my house,” he continued.
Nika was reunited with her owner on Friday afternoon and is on her way back to New York with DiBella.
DiBella says Nika recognized her toys immediately, but is warming up to him again quickly.
“It’s unusual, but I’m happy it’s happened. I’m very happy it happened. I will bring her home, said DiBella.
“Nika’s story is a beautiful example of the value of microchips,” Marion County Animal Services Director Deborah Horvath said in a release. “Collars and tags can be removed or lost, but microchips provide a lifelong means of identification. Microchips help reunite countless families, whether the stray animal is one or 1,000 miles away from home. We encourage all pet owners to microchip their pets.”
It’s not clear how the dog traveled from New York to Florida. The owner says he thinks it’s possible Nika was stolen from his front yard.