Dog returned to owners almost a decade after going missing

In May 2004, Milissa Mae walked into her garden in Worcester to discover that Niamh, her Staffordshire bull terrier, had squeezed through a hole in the surrounding fence. A big part of Mrs Mae’s life, the dog’s disappearance struck the family hard.

After months of frantic searching, the family decided that Niamh would not be returning. Life went on as normal until just a week ago, when a member of staff at a Salisbury animal sanctuary called the Mae household.

Upon picking up the telephone, Mrs Mae had no idea that the person on the other end of the phone would be telling her they had found her long lost pooch. Niamh, who is now aged 12, remained undiscovered for nine years until someone living in Cathedral City spotted her roaming the streets.

Cathedral City is located more than 80 miles away from her home and the dog had to be identified using her microchip. Soon after the discovery, staff at the Bath Cats and Dogs Home contacted her owner to break the good news.

Mrs Mae spoke of the Christmas miracle, saying:

“I don’t know how long she’d been wandering, but she must have been in someone’s care for at least some of those nine years.”

Workers at the shelter expressed heartfelt emotion when they witnessed the dog’s familiar reaction to seeing her owner. Despite losing weight, the dog appeared to be in good health. Now Niamh is bonding with her family and their other canine companion, Ferdy.