Dog gone - but not for good
A Staffordshire bull terrier missing for three years has been reunited with her owners thanks to a microchip.
Four-year-old Mon went missing from her home in Belfast in 2012 after escaping from the garden.
Her owner, Eoin Markey, put up posters and searched the local area in the hope of finding the family pet - but Mon was nowhere to be seen.
Then on May 20 this year, two railway workers at Yorkgate station came across a lone dog on the track and took her to veterinary charity PDSA's pet branch on Shore Road.
PDSA veterinary nurse Gemma Vance said: "Mon was brought to us as a stray dog and so we scanned her for a microchip. Much to our relief she had been chipped by her owner and we were able to check the database and find not only her owner's contact details, but also that she had been missing since 2012."
Gemma immediately picked up the phone and called a shocked Eoin to let him know Mon was safe and well.
Eoin said: "I answered the phone and a voice told me they had found Mon. I couldn't believe it. I had to ask if they were sure it was Mon as she'd been missing for so long. It was a bolt out of the blue.
"I'm so grateful to the people who found her and took her somewhere safe, and also to PDSA for checking if she was microchipped.
"We often wondered what had happened to her and whether she was still alive. She left a huge hole in our lives and anyone who has lost a pet will know just how heart-breaking it is. But when we saw Mon, my partner burst into tears and I think Mon was pleased to see us too."
Gemma added: "Mon wasn't wearing a collar when she was found, so I was relieved when I scanned her and found her microchip. Sadly, many other pets aren't so lucky.
"Here in Northern Ireland we're ahead of the rest of the UK, with microchipping of dogs being a legal requirement. Although any dog in a public place must wear a collar and tag by law, collars can sometimes come loose.
"It's also important to remember that cats should be microchipped too; even indoor cats can escape through open doors and windows."