The 65-pound dog named Azula was turned in to the Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley by a good Samaritan last month. Azula was found to be microchipped and her owners lived in New Mexico.
The shelter contacted her owner, Jezus Vigil, who they said was happy to hear his beloved dog was alive. He was also surprised to learn she ended up in California after being stolen from Vigil's property more than five years ago.
Shelter employee Aimee Hoesman and volunteer Dani Kerr bathed and groomed Azula to make sure she was ready for her flight home. She will fly out from Ontario Airport on Thursday and land to be reunited with her family in the evening at Albuquerque International Sunport.
As a thank you for arranging Azula's trip home, Vigil and his family made a large donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.