In the commotion that followed the death - and robbery - of Joaquin Rivera while waiting for care at a hospital emergency room late last month, his niece's dog Tuti somehow disappeared.

Now, after a journey that took Tuti to South Jersey, the pet was reunited with his family today at their Olney home.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Wilma Berrios, who was Rivera's niece and considered him a surrogate father.

"I'm so happy," she said. "There are no words in the dictionary to express how I'm feeling. I didn't think I would get him, but there's a God up there."

Wearing a L.A. Dodger's hoodie, Tuti, a miniature pincher, escaped from Berrios' Olney home, three days after Rivera, 63, died at Aria Hospital on Nov. 28.

In between spending time with her grief stricken family, Berrios walked the streets of her Olney neighborhood, sometimes in the early hours of the morning, posting and handing out flyers with Tuti's picture.

There were reported sightings, but no Tuti.

Last weekend, Kathy McGuire, president of N.J. Aid for Animals in Sicklerville, went to the SPCA Animal Control Shelter on Hunting Park Avenue in North Philadelphia looking for animals in need of homes.

There she and a companion saw a min-pin, as minature pinchers are called.

"We said, 'He's a cute little dog. We'll take him,' " she said.

It was Tuti.

This week, Berrios learned Tuti had been taken to the shelter and went looking for him. There she found out he had been adopted. The shelter contacted McGuire and today's reunion was arranged.

But Tuti was missing a few things he had when he left home.

"He no longer has the hoodie and he's been castrated," she said, adding it was her group's policy to neuter all animals for which it seeks homes.

But as Berrios' joyful reaction indicated, that was no problem at all. Tuti was home.