Milissa Mae, 47, thought she would never see Niamh again when she vanished in May 2004 aged just three.
The Staffordshire bull terrier slipped through a gap in a back garden fence at the Mae family’s home near Worcester.
Despite a frantic search, Niamh could not be found and her owners resigned themselves to never seeing her again.
But last week Milissa received a phone call from an animal sanctuary telling her Niamh had been found 80 miles away in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Wardens took her in after she was spotted wandering the streets of the cathedral city and traced her owners through her microchip.
Niamh was taken to Bath Cats and Dogs Home for an emotional reunion with her owner. Even staff at the shelter were moved to tears when the pair met – and Niamh recognised Milissa despite their years apart.
Milissa hailed the reunion as a “Christmas miracle” and said she had no idea why she had suddenly turned up.
She said: “Someone must have taken her. She is such a friendly thing, she would walk right up to anyone.
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I didn’t think I’d ever see her again. But last week I got a phone call telling me she’d been found
“I didn’t think I’d ever see her again. But last week I got a phone call telling me she’d been found and they’d identified her with her microchip.
“I think she recognised me. She’s gone a little deaf and a little grey but otherwise she’s just the same.
“It was a very tearful occasion. Even the girls from the dogs’ home had tears in their eyes. Someone had obviously been looking after her in the intervening years. 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.”
Milissa added: “She’s getting on very well with my children. They were only at primary school when she went missing but they remember her and I think she remembers them. I keep telling them it’s a Christmas miracle.”
Niamh is also getting on well with their other dog, seven-year-old Ferdy, who is her grand-daughter.
Caroline Hook, of the Bath home, said: “If it hadn’t been for Niamh’s microchip we might never have been able to reunite her with her family. Mrs Mae and her family were in a state of shock and came to pick up Niamh in person.
“It was an overwhelming reunion. Niamh recognised her ‘mum’ and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”