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WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) - His real name is Oreo.
He's a 5-year-old Chihuahua written off as dead, at least that's what his owner was told.
But Oreo is alive and well, going by the name Bebop at the Kent County Humane Society, and he soon will be reunited with his owner -- thanks to a microchip.
"This is just crazy to me," said Oreo's owner, Rosi Badalamenti, 22. "Like, how does this happen; your dog dies and now he's alive? Like he came back from the dead; this is nuts."
This story starts two years ago, when Badalamenti moved from the city of Wyoming to California, but couldn't find a place that took dogs.
About a year ago, a family friend in Big Rapids started taking care of Oreo. Badalamenti said she planned to return to Michigan in late July to pick up her dog for a move to Hawaii.
Then, about a month ago, she got a message from the family friend.
"I woke up to a message saying he passed away in his sleep last night. He had pneumonia," Badalamenti said.
She was devastated. "I wouldn't think to question it."
On Tuesday, almost a month later, the Kent County Humane Society took in a Chihuahua from a shelter in Newaygo County. Oreo had been picked up as a stray and was given the name Bebop.
Humane Society officials said they assumed that the Newaygo County shelter had checked for microchips in the dog.
The other day, as the Humane Society prepared the dog for adoption, they scanned him and were surprised to find a chip between his shoulder blades. A quick call to the microchip vendor led to information about the owner.
While the owner's listed phone number was disconnected, it had an emergency contact -- Rosi's mom in Ohio.
"We asked if they owned a dog and she's like are you joking?" said Nicole Cook, of the Humane Society. "Shocked, completely shocked. It took her a second to figure out what we were saying."
Rosi got a call from her mom.
"She was like, 'You'll never believe this.' I was like, 'What?' She was like, 'Oreo's alive.' 'Uh, uh, shut up, this is a mean joke.'"
One of Rosi's cousins will pick up Oreo on Saturday. Rosi says she will finally get to see her dog in July, when she returns to Michigan.
"I'm so excited. I can't wait to see him."
In the meantime, Rosi and the Humane Society are trying to fill in some blanks.
"Who would make up that a dog had passed away?" Cook asked. Added Rosi: "If only dogs could talk."
Cook says this underscores the importance of microchips and keeping them up-to-date. Pet owners who move or change phone numbers should call the microchip vendor, who can update the information. If they don't know the vendor, they can have their pets scanned at a veterinarian or the Humane Society.
"Our big thing is because Bebop had that microchip we were able to reconnect them, and that's the thing we want people to understand: It's important to make sure that information is up-to-date and accurate. It allows us to reunite them in circumstances like this."
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