If ever a dog lived up to its name, it’s Phoenix.

Eight years ago he was reported stolen in Rochester and 8 hours after he was found, he was reunited with his family.

“Whether you’re missing your dog for a few hours, or a few years, having this protection is key,” says Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Animal Services for the City of Rochester.

Pheonix’s journey home wouldn’t have been possible without a microchip — a small implant that’s placed in a pet’s skin — that contains contact information should the pet get lost. Rochester Animal Services used the technology in March, after Phoenix was found sleeping in a city resident’s garage. Turns out, Pheonix was reported stolen in October of 2013.

The family was distraught to lose their then 5- month old puppy. The owner had since moved to Atlanta, but when when RAS contacted her she joyfully sent her son, still in Rochester, to get him.

“Within an hour the family member came, it was the son of the owner, and he was reunited with his childhood dog that everybody thought was gone and would never see again,” says Fitzgerald.

May is National Chip Your Pet Month. All pet owners are encouraged to get their animals microchipped. In the meantime, Rochester Animal Services is building its pet reunification team. These volunteers put in the extra effort to reunite pets with their owners. If you’d like to sign up, click here.