The grieving family of a young woman who died in a tragic motorsport accident were overjoyed this week after their missing dog was recovered.
Mairéad D'Arcy died on St Stephen's Day 2016 during a motorsport event and her family were devastated this week when her beloved dog did not return from an early morning run near their rural home.
Her brother John spoke to Independent.ie about the added stress of Gertie going missing so soon after losing his sister, who walked with the dog daily.
"The one thing that we had left has been taken from us so what's next to go? That's personally how I feel why would our god go missing on top of everything else?"
The family, who live in Stradbally Co Waterford, launched a nationwide appeal for their pet whom John described as like a grandchild in the family who even had her morning cup of tea.
However, the dog was recovered late on Wednesday night after locals used drones to search the local area for her.
A dramatic rescue operation involving Bunmahon Coastguard ensued.
"Half the parish turned out to welcome her," a delighted John said.
"We can't believe it, my dad is like a child."
The family had something of an impromptu party at their home last night with all those who helped search for Gertie.
It has emerged that she slipped onto the cliffs while out for a run last Thursday morning and survived almost a week.
The coastguard and a team of local volunteers rescued the Labrador and Collie cross from the cliff face.
Mairéad was an active member of the local motorsport scene and was secretary of the local club. The family were all involved in motorsports and never entertained the idea that any of them could be injured, John said.
Following the successful rescue of Gertie, a fundraiser for the Bunmahon Coast Guard will be held in the Stradbally GAA club on March 25.