JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A dog missing for three-and-a-half years is back home with his family.

A key piece of technology is to credit with the pet's safe return, according to his owner, Christie Harris. She holds Smokie's leash a little tighter as she recalls a frantic scene from November 2015.

Her beloved Pomeranian freed himself from a harness and took-off.

“I ran down the street, all through the neighborhood, we put posters up magnets for our cars put them on every social media you can possibly find,” Harris said. 

She never gave up hope, knowing Smokie had a microchip registered with the family's contact information. The device implanted in the animal carries a unique number that when scanned, can help track down owners of missing pets. 

It is still a mystery exactly where Smokie went after running away from his home near Beach Boulevard, but he was found and checked in at a veterinarian's office along Old St. Augustine Road on May 11.

She says, based on his appearance, he’s been well groomed but is missing most of his lower and back teeth.

In the time Smokie has been away, Harris has been diagnosed with brain cancer and complications with her thyroid.

She’s in the fight for her life but is relieved that her precious pup is back home, safe and around to give her comfort.

“It’s so much nicer to have Smokie back, he’s just the same," Harris said. "He likes to roll over let you rub his tummy.”

Just with a little more gray in his hair than when he left.

“He’s the cutest thing, he’s so sweet,” she said.

Harris has one message to those who found Smokie and made sure he was taken to a safe place.

“Thank you because I don’t know who found him to begin with,” she said.