Brambles was found by the RSPCA after three years
A stolen dog has been reunited with its tearful owners in Dorset after three years, the RSPCA has said.
The owners of Brambles, a saluki greyhound cross, had given up hope, after she was taken from their home in Dorchester in 2005 when she was two.
She was found when RSPCA officers were called to reports that boys were mistreating a dog in Bristol. They then scanned her for a microchip.
Owner Sarah Thornewill said it was "a very emotional moment all round".
Ms Thornewill, who now lives in Blandford, added: "My partner Richard had a tear in his eye.
"After so long, we thought that we would never see Brambles again, but this just goes to show how worthwhile microchipping is."
RSPCA Insp John Atkinson had scanned Brambles' fur and her microchip revealed she had been stolen three years earlier.
The story comes at the start of the Kennel Club's National Microchipping Month, which is backed by the RSPCA.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits of microchipping, which allows lost or stolen pets to be identified.
Insp John Atkinson said: "The RSPCA has been able to reunite cats and dogs who have been given up for lost with their owners months or even years after they first went missing thanks to a microchip.
"Sadly, the society often has to find new homes for animals because there is no way of tracing their owners.
"In addition, I'd urge all the responsible owners who have their pets microchipped to update their details with the microchipping database whenever they move house."
RSPCA officers routinely scan all animals that come into their care and last year inspectors microchipped 69,667 animals nationally.