A PET dog has been reunited with his owner after being found wandering in Little Hulton — more than three years after going missing.

Spike the Staffordshire bull terrier disappeared from his home in Clifton in 2009 and, after so long, owner Sue O’Toole was convinced she would never see her beloved pet again.

But then a member of the public found the pooch, two weeks ago, lost on a playing field three miles away in Little Hulton.

A rescue centre she called was shut so she decided to take the friendly canine to White Cross vets in Mayfield Avenue, Walkden, instead.

“He was very affectionate and only slightly underweight so it’s a mystery where he’s been for the last few years,” said White Cross head nurse, Danielle Richardson.

“We scanned him, found a microchip and managed to contact his owner, who couldn’t believe it.”

Spike is now reunited with his sister, Freckles, who is also owned by Ms O’Toole.

“Spike disappeared in 2009 and we spent months trying to find him but eventually gave up hope of ever seeing him again,” she said.

“When I got the call from White Cross Vets I was completely speechless.

“The family is now reunited which is a very happy ending and demonstrates why microchips are so important.”

White Cross Vets say they have seen a surge in the number of stray pets being brought into its practices throughout the UK, and according to the DogLost organisation 3,500 thefts were reported last year.

This month has been declared National Microchipping Month in an attempt to encourage more people to have the microchip inserted under their pet’s skin so, like Spike, they can be reunited with their rightful owners if they go missing.

“Approximately half of dogs and cats that we see are not microchipped and hopefully we can help change that by microchipping all dogs and cats that come into our practices for their vaccinations,” said White Cross managing director Tim Harrison.