Lola, a boxer dog, who is believed to have been snatched from her owner’s car in Ravenna in 2004, was identified after vets treated her for heatstroke in San Savero, close to Foggia in south-eastern Italy, Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported.
Rescuers were able to trace her owners thanks to a microchip.
Lola was reported to have been stolen from her owner’s car, which was parked outside a tobacconist, when she was just one year old. It is unclear where she spent the intervening nine years.
The newspaper said her owners were “overcome” with emotion on being reunited with their dog. "The family never believed the dog had died," the newspaper said.
Linda Tortorelli, a representative of the Foggia branch of OIPA, an animal welfare charity, told the newspaper: "We are very happy to be able to write a happy ending to this incredible story. However, we reiterate the importance of the presence of a microchip.”