Dog days over as comic reunited with pet pooch
Joe Rooney with his companion Elsa. Tom Conachy
IT is a shaggy dog story, but one with a happy ending.
When Irish comedian Joe Rooney lost his dog Elsa in the snow last winter, he figured it was the last he had seen of his faithful friend.
Elsa even shared screen time with the comedy actor in hit RTE show 'Killinaskully', but suddenly vanished without trace.
Now, almost five months later, Elsa has been reunited with Rooney and family, including his 10-year-old daughter Duanna, who was overjoyed to see the pet returned.
Last night, Rooney said he never gave up hope of finding Elsa.
"At Christmas time, Duanna wrote a letter to Santa asking if he could find and bring Elsa back. That really made me determined to find Elsa," he said.
But the 47-year-old feared the worst when the cross-breed disappeared from the garden of his home outside Drogheda last November 23. "I went out for a few hours but when I came back Elsa was gone. I went out looking for her but there wasn't a trace," said Rooney. "The next day the big snow arrived."
As the weeks went on, the comic took to mentioning the missing dog every time he performed his stand-up routine, and a gig in Louth proved crucial in the search.
A member of the audience told him that she had seen a dog similar to Elsa in a housing estate in Clogherhead, Co Louth.
"The first time I went up there I didn't see any sign of Elsa, but I kept going back until I met a neighbour, who confirmed a family on the street had got a dog before Christmas which answered Elsa's description.
"I went to the house and couldn't get an answer but left my number with a neighbour. That night, I got a call from the people who were a bit surprised to get the message but willing to give her back.
"They assumed it was a stray and took her home," added Rooney. "But they treated Elsa well."