Kansas City, MO (AP) – A dog that disappeared from his southern California home and mysteriously wound up in Missouri has been reunited with his owner with the help of a Pony Express-style chain of cross-county volunteers.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Bernese mountain dog, named Topper, was brought into the city shelter in July after a Kansas City police officer suffered a “minor bite’’ during an arrest. Topper’s microchip led staff to his owner, Tom Huffman of El Cajon, California.

He didn’t have the money to travel to Kansas City, so volunteers stepped up to help Topper make the 1,500 mile (2,400 kilometer) trip home.

Huffman’s mother, Roderica Huffman, said Tuesday that the family thought they’d never see Topper again. They suspect someone took Topper while a friend was watching him.