A TRALEE woman who was this week reunited with her missing pet chihuahua, nine weeks after she was stolen from her home, has described the pet's return as a miracle.
Marian O'Connor's beloved Minnie - who she says is one of her main comforts since the tragic death of her son in January - was located by a family in Limerick on Thursday, and is back now safe and sound in Marian's Blackrock home.
Last September, Marian made an emotional appeal through The Kerryman for the return of her beloved Minnie, who belonged to her son Brian until his tragic death by suicide in January.
Despite a number of leads over the past two months, there was no trace of Minnie until Marian got a surprise call from a young mother in Limerick on Thursday, claiming she may have her beloved pet.
The woman had seen an ad for the dog on a supermarket billboard and paid €250 as a present to her 11- year- old daughter. Delighted with her new pet, the young girl went online to search for ' clothes for dogs in Limerick' and up popped the original article from The Kerryman, as well as a follow up story in The Limerick Leader.
"This young girl could have just ignored it and said nothing but she told her mother and she got straight on to me and told me she thought it might be Minnie. They had named the dog Candy but when they read the story they started calling her Minnie and noticed she reacted better to that name. The next day I met them in Askeaton and I couldn't believe it was Minnie."
Marian said that although she was heart broken to take the dog from the little girl, she has promised her a new pet chihuahua for Christmas.
"It's absolute miracle, that's all I can say," an ecstatic Marian told The Kerryman this week. "I never gave up hope and I have no doubt that Brian was minding that dog and made this happen."
Marian also thanked the people of Tralee, the gardaí in Tralee and Limerick, The Kerryman and everyone else who showed so much support while Minnie was missing.
"It has renewed people's faith in God. People have been absolutely amazing, sending me mass cards and lighting candles in the church. It's been overwhelming," she said. "I was reunited with Minnie on All Souls Day and that wasn't a coincidence. It was God's way of working his magic."
Marian also confirmed that gardai are following a definite line of inquiry in relation to the theft of Minnie, and have several leads in the case.