Pit bull back home after 3 years, 2,784 miles

July 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., July 9 (UPI) -- A California man was reunited with his dog after three years thanks to 21 drivers who passed the dog along from where he was found in Florida.

Eric Hough of Huntington Beach said his pit bull, Smoke, disappeared three years ago when a roommate moved out of the Los Angeles home they shared and there was no sign of the animal until he was brought to a shelter in Titusville, Fla., as a stray last month, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Smoke's rescuers tracked down Hough using information from a microchip implanted under the canine's skin and Smoke was then sent on the long journey home by Kindred Hearts, a non-profit pet transportation service.

Heather McNally, a transport coordinator for Kindred Hearts, said 21 drivers split the trip into 30 shifts, making enough stops to ensure the travel didn't put any undue strain on Smoke.

"He's here. He's really here," Hough said as the car carrying Smoke came to a stop.

Smoke was reintroduced to his old friend Molly, Hough's Chihuahua.

"Are you happy to be home, buddy?" Hough asked his pet.

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