LAS CRUCES – Iris Salaiz was decorating her house for Christmas on Sunday evening when animal control knocked on her door. She said she was confused because both of her dogs were in the house with her.
“We have your dog, Bruno,” they told her.
“I kept telling them no … it has to be a mistake,” she said. Bruno had been reported stolen three years ago.
But the dog in the back of the animal control vehicle was indeed Bruno. Bigger and older than what she remembered, but it was Bruno nonetheless.
Salaiz said in 2018, she and her daughter, Ciliana, decided to get another Old English Bulldog to breed with their current bulldog, Bella. They saved up the money and bought Bruno. But after only about three weeks with his family, he was reported stolen from the yard.
The family called police, searched the neighborhood, tracked down leads, but the clues ran cold. Salaiz said the last she heard, Bruno had been taken to Albuquerque. After so much time had gone by, the family gave up hope of finding their pet. She said she just hoped he was loved.
A few weeks ago, Salaiz said she started getting messages from 24PetWatch saying Bruno’s microchip had been flagged. She said both she and her daughter thought it was a scam, until animal control showed up at her house in-person Sunday, Nov. 28.
She showed the animal control officers pictures she had of Bruno as a puppy and they confirmed that it was the same dog.
“He opens up the door and oh my God, if it wasn't my Bruno,” Salaiz said. “My heart about jumped out of my chest and I started crying.”
Bruno was reportedly found walking along Missouri Avenue with another dog a few days prior. Authorities ran his microchips in a database and then started reaching out to Salaiz. She explained that they had Bruno chipped twice when he was a puppy — a precaution because he cost them a pretty penny.
Bruno is now safe and sound with Salaiz, her daughters and grandchildren. She said it’s like he knows he’s home and with his family. Salaiz’s other two dogs, Bella and Booboo are getting used to having the 3-year-old Bruno around the house. Bella “adores” him, but Booboo is a bit jealous.
Salaiz said she is now a big advocate for getting pets microchipped, because even though it took time to find him, the microchip is what was able to reunite the family.
“I got my very early Christmas present …. I call it my miracle and my prayers answered,” Salaiz said. “Especially with these last couple of years of how it’s been with COVID and nothing’s gone right, and it kind of restores that little bit of faith.”
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Bruno the bulldog returns home after three years missing