A STOLEN pedigree dog has been reunited with its rightful owner -- over two months after she was taken from her home.
Marian O'Connor has hailed the return of Minnie, the nine-year-old Chihuahua, as a miracle.
The pet was returned after an 11-year-old girl from Limerick, who was given the dog as a present, went online looking for clothes for her. An article from 'The Kerryman' in which Marian had made an emotional plea for the dog to be returned popped up on the screen.
The girl immediately recognised 'Minnie' as 'Candy', the name she had given the dog.
Her mother had unwittingly bought the dog for €250 after seeing an advertisement on the noticeboard of her local supermarket. The man selling the dog told her she was only two-and-a-half years old.
Mrs O'Connor had been devastated after Minnie was stolen from the back garden of her home in Blackrock Avenue, Tralee, in early September.
Minnie was Mrs O'Connor's last link to her son Brian (22), who tragically took his own life in January.
Brian had picked out Minnie when he was 14-years-old and the pair had been inseparable up until the time of his death.
"It's nothing short of a miracle that she's home again and I believe Brian was behind it all," a delighted Mrs O'Connor told the Irish Independent.
And the girl who so courageously came forward when she realised what had happened has been given a new Chihuahua by a generous stranger who heard the tale.
Valuable pedigree dogs remain a target for thieves, despite the recession.
Harry McDaid of the Kerry Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KSPCA) advised owners to make sure their pets are microchipped.
"We've often had cases where a stolen dog turns up in another county but we've been able to trace them to their owners because they were chipped," he said.
"In our experience, we find the pets are just being sold on and pedigree dogs can command prices from €300 up to €1,600."
He also warned people to only buy a dog from a reputable dealer.