The teenager got the Chihuahua-whippet mix as a present from his grandfather before he died. So Baetge was blown away when Cooper turned up last week, 2,800 miles away in Brandon, Florida.
"I don't know how to explain it, but I'm glad everything happened the way it did, even though he's all the way out there. But I think that's the only way we would've found him," said Baetge.
Two Florida girls found Cooper and took him to a vet clinic where staff discovered a microchip under his skin. The microchip company traced Cooper back to Baetge.
He's being put on a flight back home to Sacramento on Monday.
KGO-TV SAN FRANCISCO, CA contributed to this report.