Every dog has its day but for Marti the Jack Russell, it took a three-year wait.
Discovered in recent days by staff at Amber garage in Charleville, she was brought to the local vet to see if she had been reported missing.
Marti was on the missing list, as it turns out. In fact, she had been missing from her home in Limerick city, some 40km away, for three years.
But, thanks to the staff at the garage and the local vet, she has been reunited with her family, the Hourigans from Roxboro.
Mike Hourigan described the moment his father, also named Mike, heard that Marti had been found.
“He was over the moon. We got the call and he couldn’t believe it. Over three years ago, she was lifted out of the back garden, we hadn’t seen her since,” said Mr Hourigan.
Marti was given to Mike’s father after his dog of 18 years had passed on. After Marti’s disappearance, he was distraught.
“She had given him a new lease for life when he got her. He was heartbroken when she was taken. After a while, he took in another rescue,” Mike said.
However, Mike said Marti’s unexpected return has done wonders for his father’s morale as he continues to cocoon amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has really lifted his spirits. He missed taking her out for walks. It’ll be some boost to have her back," Mike said.
The family believes Marti was stolen, as she disappeared from an enclosed garden area.
Amid a recent increase in dog thefts, gardaí have advised pet owners to take some steps to keep their dogs safe.
This includes micro-chipping their dogs, which is how Marti was reunited with the Hourigans, as well as supervising pets when outdoors and considering other measures like CCTV in the case of high value breeds.
“If a dog is stolen, it’s important to act quickly. Immediately report the theft to gardaí. Report the loss to your local authority, your vet and your dog’s microchip company.
"Spread the word on social media: post clear photos and detailed descriptions both on your profile and any other groups and pages you are connected with and encourage people to share quickly," a spokesperson for the National Crime Prevention Unit said.