Lost Dog Shows For Christmas - Nine Years On
A woman is celebrating the return of her treasured family pet - more than nine years after the dog went missing.
Staffordshire bull terrier Niamh disappeared through a gap in the fence at Milissa Mae's home near Worcester in May 2004.
Despite a frantic search for the-then three-year-old pet, Niamh remained undiscovered and her owners had reluctantly resigned themselves to the fact that she was lost forever.
Then, last week, Mrs Mae received a phone call from an animal sanctuary in Salisbury, saying Niamh had been brought in after being spotted wandering the streets of the cathedral city, some 80 miles from her original home.
The dog, who was identified through her microchip, was reunited with her owner at the Bath Cats and Dogs Home and even staff at the shelter shed a tear when the dog appeared to recognise Mrs Mae.
Mrs Mae described the find as a "Christmas miracle".
"I know in my heart someone must have taken her," she said. "She is such a friendly thing, she would walk right up to anyone.
"She's gone a little deaf and a little grey but otherwise she's just the same."
She went on: "She was very thin but apart from that she's in surprisingly good condition, especially considering she's a 12-year-old dog.
"Someone has obviously been looking after her in the intervening years.
"I don't know how long she'd been wandering but she must have been in someone's care for at least some of those nine years."
Niamh is now back at home with the Mae family, and is getting on well with their other dog Ferdy, seven, and her granddaughter.
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