OH HOW we love a happy ending.
A litter of puppies which were stolen from a home in Craughwell, Galway in June have been reunited with their mother and owner after they were recovered by Gardaí.
In what is being described as a 'pandemic', there has been a significant rise in puppies and dogs being stolen from properties, to be sold on or used as bait in dog fights.
Tragically, many of these beloved pets are never found-- but this story had a happier ending.
The four fox hound puppies-- who were just four weeks old when they were stolen, too young to be separated from their mother-- were identified following a cross-border operation between agencies from the Republic and Northern Ireland.
The puppies were recovered in Belfast Harbour on their way to a ferry which would have taken them overseas, thanks to a collaboration between Gardaí, Belfast Harbour Police, Belfast City Coucil Animal Welfare Service, the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).
The four young pups were among a number of stolen dogs which were intercepted at the harbour.
Thankfully, the puppies were in good health and have been reunited with their mother and relieved owner in Craughwell.
An Garda Síochána posted a video of the heartfelt reunion to their official Facebook page (which you can see below) along with a warning to dog owners
Pet owners are urged to microchip their animals so they can be traced if they are stolen and recovered, as well as ensuring their pet's collar has the owners' contact details.
Pet owners should also ensure their homes and gardens are secure, and those with 'high value breeds' should consider investing in CCTV and other crime prevention measures.
Anyone who finds a lost animal should ensure they are returning it to the rightful owner such as by requesting proof of ownership.
While many family pets are being stolen from loving homes, others are being cruelly abandoned: an urgent appeal for information has been launched after the ISPCA recovered three newborn puppies who were found in a plastic bag dangling over a fast-moving river.
Anyone with information as to who originally owned the puppies are urged to contact Gardaí or the ISPCA: you can read more on that story here.