A therapy puppy used to comfort children in foster care has been returned to his ecstatic owners after he was stolen from their Melbourne backyard almost a month ago.
Tallow, an eight-month-old King Charles cavalier, had been missing from Heidelberg Heights since December 9 but was discovered by a vet at Whittlesea on Wednesday.
Police say the puppy was taken to the vet for a checkup by two people on Wednesday who claimed to have found him.
When the vet examined Tallow and scanned his microchip, they informed the people the pup had been registered as stolen.
"(They) bolted and the police called and we were blown away," owner Erin Horwood told News Limited's Herald Sun.
"We didn't think he was coming home."
Tallow was taken to the local pound where he was reunited with his owners.
Tallow goes to work with Ms Horwood's partner, Matthew Wilson, who runs a therapeutic care clinic for foster care children.
The police investigation is ongoing.