Dog from northern California located in Pahrump Valley

A northern California woman is celebrating the return of her lost dog after five years apartlam.

The dog, a Chihuahua named Gracie, now 8-years-old, belonged to Ivonne Musskops of San Jose.

Musskops said her dog went missing from her home after she traveled to Peru to attend to her gravely ill mother back in 2011.

“I was down there for about three months and my mother eventually passed away,” she said. “While I was there and I went to her funeral.”

Before her departure, Musskops said she had a disagreement with her then boyfriend, who was caring for the dog in her absence, when the dog somehow ran away.

San Jose is roughly an eight-and-a-half-hour drive from Pahrump, covering a distance of roughly 518 miles.

Earlier this month, Gracie was found in Pahrump running down Mesquite Avenue near the federal detention facility, when one of the guards secured the dog and contacted Nye County Animal Control.

The dog eventually ended up at Pahrump’s Desert Haven Animal Society.

Manager Marla Greanya said she was in disbelief after scanning Gracie for a microchip which stores information on the history of the animal and its owners.

She noted that the last owner was Musskops, by virtue of the phone number on the microchip.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Greanya said. “Every stray animal that comes in, we scan them to see if they have been microchipped. We try to trace back as far as we can for the current owner and this is the first time that we have been able to get a direct hit. We found, surprisingly, that this dog has been missing for five years in another state. It’s safe to say that we were all pretty shocked when we learned about it.”

Additionally, Greanya said Gracie was in excellent health when she was found.

“That tells me that someone was taking care of her,” Greanya said. “It’s not very clear how many times she actually changed hands in those five years. I am not aware of this happening locally, but across the country you hear about it from time to time which is why it’s very important to microchip your pets.”

A few years prior to locating Gracie, Musskops said that she just resigned herself that she would never see her pet again, but not before placing an ad on Craigslist, which also failed to yield results.

She finally decided to adopt another pet after moving from San Jose to Sacramento.

Not long after moving she received the call she was hoping for from animal control officials in Pahrump.

“When I got the call from Nye County Animal Control I didn’t really believe it at the time because it was actually my father’s number that they called,” she said. “I used his number as a secondary number on everything, which turned out to be very useful.”

Last Thursday, Nov. 10, Musskops and her current boyfriend drove nine hours to Nye County Animal Control to reclaim Gracie.

She noted the reunion was not what she expected, as Gracie appeared not to recognize her original owner.

“When we were reintroduced, I don’t think Gracie really recognized me because of all the years that have passed,” Musskops said. “When I first got her years ago, she had a very short memory.”

As a result of the five-year ordeal, Musskops said she is very grateful for the efforts of animal control tracking her down.

She’s equally grateful for the person who took care of Gracie for the past five years.

Greanya, meanwhile urged all pet owners to get their respective dogs and cats microchipped, which she said is a very fast and simple procedure, as the chip itself is roughly the size of a grain of rice.

“It is well worth it and very inexpensive,” she said. “We perform microchipping here and every animal that leaves here is microchipped. It’s all done during surgery if the animal is not fixed. Otherwise, it takes literally 15 seconds to do, where it’s implanted right under the skin and the animal can be awake for it.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at On Twitter: @pvtimes