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A lot can happen in three years. Especially if those years are translated to the dog equivalent of dozens more. And if Chela the dog could talk, she would likely have quite the story to tell of her life spent during that amount of time.

That's because nearly three years ago, on July 4, 2013, the female Labrador retriever escaped during a fireworks celebration. Her Riverside owner, Silvano Reyes, says he searched and searched for the pup to no avail. Despite hanging fliers and searching websites for Chela, she had seemingly vanished.

“I drove around like crazy around the area after she went missing,” he said. “She is a very cute dog – and very smart."

Reyes and Riverside County Animal Control officials believe it was that cuteness and those smarts which allowed her to survive on her own, or perhaps in the care of a family, during the last few years. Miraculously she had been alive somewhere all this time, and mysteriously, she showed up just last week at a local pound.

"Mr. Reyes never gave up hope," said John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

"On Wednesday, he and Chela reunited at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus," he explained. "Someone had placed the dog inside one of the county shelter’s night-drop compartments. An employee at the shelter scanned the dog for a microchip, per standard procedure, and the scanner beeped, indicating the dog had a microchip embedded underneath its skin."

The encounter was captured on the video, seen above, and will melt your heart as Chela rolls over in delight at the sight of her long-lost owner, who works the night shift for Metrolink as a locomotive mechanic.

"I'm not going to lie -- I cried," Silvano Reyes said of seeing his dog again.


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