A woman who was wrongly informed that her stolen dog was dead has told of her delight after her pet was mysteriously returned.

Catherine Quinlivan’s longhaired terrier Tilly had vanished from her home in Listowel, Co. Kerry, on January 19. However, the grandmother and her friends did not lose hope.

They contacted An Garda Síochána and mounted a massive social media campaign to find Tilly, which was shared by 2,500 people.

Her supporters believe the campaign made the stolen dog ‘too hot to handle’, as Tilly was brought back to Ms Quinlivan last Sunday. ‘I was just gathering laundry and I saw this dog. It was a Tilly look­alike,’ she said.

‘Then I noticed her collar and I said, “Oh my God.” She just appeared, from nowhere, in the house. She left in thin air, and came back in thin air. She is one of the family. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have her back.’

Ms Quinlivan told Talkabout on Radio Kerry that there had been many sleepless nights while the dog was missing.

‘I am living on my own and she is a great companion. She is a lovely little dog. She’s gorgeous, so I was heartbroken when she went,’ she said.

‘I just felt that somehow or other she was going to come back, but I certainly was getting more and more distraught with every day that passed.’

She said there were no signs to suggest the dog had been mistreated and that she was ‘so grateful’ to those who helped her. Her friend, Annette O’Sullivan, had shared posts on a local Facebook page and on a Dublin-based missing pets page.

‘I know some people don’t find social media very good at times, but it was phenomenal. It went everywhere,’ she said.

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