Lucky the dog is living up to his name.
After being separated from his owner for five months, the 4-year-old white Pomeranian was reunited with Marlene Bolivar Sunday in time for Bolivar's 26 th birthday.
"I was really, really happy and kind of in shock," the Los Angeles resident told ABC News Sunday night hours after the reunion. "I was just happy that I had my dog back. It was a really good birthday present."
The dog left through the gate Aug. 7. Bolivar wasn't too worried at first. Lucky is tagged and microchipped, and even though he had gone missing before, kindhearted strangers had always contacted her when they found him, she said.
Not this time.
Indeed, when she put up posters about the missing dog, she said she got a call two days later from a woman who asked her "how much the reward was."
Bolivar said she wasn't working at the time, but told the caller she could probably give her $60 or $70.
"She said, 'Well, let me talk to the people that have a dog that looks like your dog and see what they say and I'll call you back,' and I never got a call back," Bolivar said. "So that was the last I heard, so that's when I kind of, like, lost hope that I was going to see him, because I knew somebody had my dog."
She never thought she would see Lucky again until she got a phone call Jan. 7 that changed everything.
An animal-control officer from Sacramento - which is about a six- or seven-hour drive from where she lives in L.A. - called to say they had Lucky.
"I actually didn't believe it at first," Bolivar said.
She called the microchip company herself and the company verified that animal control had indeed scanned Lucky's chip.
Bolivar said Lucky was flown home at no cost by Wings of Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit organization that flies shelter animals to safety.
"I didn't have to pay anything. That was really awesome," she said.
Sacramento is more than 350 miles from where Bolivar lives. Bolivar doesn't know how Lucky spent his months away from home or how he got to Sacramento.
"He must have hitched a ride with somebody. For being gone for five months, he's in pretty good shape," she said. "He probably just needs some grooming because his hair is a little knotted up."
In addition to the grooming, Bolivar plans to have Lucky neutered. She hopes it will calm him enough that he'll stop leaving the house.