An 11-year-old dog has been found nearly 300 miles from home more than a year after she was stolen.
Pomeranian Kiara was taken from her garden in London in August 2017.
But when two stray dogs wandered into Peter Daniel’s house in Bangor, Gwynedd, he was able to find Kiara’s owners Juan and Antoinette Mino via her microchip and reunite the family.
Mrs Mino said she was “so thankful” her precious pooch had been found after she had given up hope.
Mr Daniel said he spotted two dogs going through his bins on Saturday while he got ready to go to his work, before one of them – Kiara – walked into his house and made herself at home.
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After he put out posts on lost dog groups on social media, a woman volunteered to scan the dogs for microchips on Sunday – and while the other dog did not have one, Kiara’s contained a phone number for her owners.
“They couldn’t get their heads around it, I can’t believe it myself,” Mr Daniel said.
“While I was on the phone to the lady that owned the dog, her partner was getting in the car to drive the six or seven hours up here.”
Co-operative worker Mr Daniel said when Mr Mino was reunited with Kiara, there was not a dry eye in the house.
“It was lovely,” he said.
“I think we all shed a tear. Dogs are family members.”
When Kiara was taken, Mr and Mrs Mino printed 500 lost dog posters, offered a reward and kept across lost dog agencies and councils.
But after a year went by with two false alarms and no sign of Kiara, they gave up hope – until this weekend.
Finally reunited with her dog on Monday, Mrs Mino said she had spent more than a year haunted by thoughts of Kiara being abused or killed.
“I’ve just been crying for days, I am so thankful,” she said.
“We are animal lovers and we have had dogs who have died before but with Kiara, we were always thinking ‘what’s happened to her? Was she ill-treated? Was she killed? Are they hitting her?’
“My husband was home when she was stolen and he always felt guilty.
“It is so nice to have her back.”
But alongside the celebrations, Kiara will need some tender loving care while she recovers.
“She came home in such a state, and she smells, apparently she was with another dog and they had been living rough for months.”
Mrs Mino added Kiara’s coat is in knots and she will have to be shaved by a vet, along with needing health checks and vaccinations.
But Mr Daniel’s life has also been changed after finding the dogs – as he is now fostering Kiara’s stray friend with a view to permanently adopting the Jack Russell if its owners cannot be found.
He described the weekend’s events as a “Christmas miracle”.