FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – Staff at a Colorado animal shelter say a touching reunion this month between a dog and its owner demonstrates the benefits of microchipping pets.

The Summit County Sheriff’s office on Tuesday shared the story of Rainey, a malamute mix. Rainey’s owner Erick Williamson was attending a graduate school on Colorado’s Front Range and the 6-year-old dog was staying with Williamson’s mom in New Mexico two months ago when she escaped. She went off on what authorities called an “unaccompanied adventure.”

Eventually Rainey wound up in a shelter in northwestern New Mexico. Specialists there checked to see if Rainey had a microchip but they weren’t able to detect one. Due to limited resources, they put out a request to have the dog transferred to a shelter that could take an unidentified older dog with heartworm. The Summit County Animal Shelter accepted the offer and after bringing Rainey to Colorado they started treating it for heartworm.

In the process vets scanned Rainey again to see if perhaps a microchip would show up.

“To the pleasant surprise of all involved, a number popped up on the scanner,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a news release.

When staff contacted Williamson to let them know they had his dog, they said he “responded with disbelief.”

Erick and Rainey are reunited. (credit: Victoria Nestor/YouTube)

Williamson was in the process of moving from Colorado to Louisiana earlier this month when he got the call. He immediately headed up to Summit County and there was a reunion on Aug. 11 that involved much tail wagging and smiles. He told shelter staff he was psyched that he would be able to take Rainey along on his move, and that he’d give Rainey the appropriate treatment for heartworm.

(credit: Summit County Animal Control and Shelter)

The sheriff’s office wrote: “This reunion story brings hope to all lost animals and demonstrates the great importance of ensuring that your pet is microchipped.”