A pensioner has been reunited with his pet dog after the animal went missing almost four weeks ago and was feared stolen.
The disappearance of springer spaniel Brandy left owner Sean Garrigan (85) devastated. Brandy was reportedly taken from his home in Brannockstown, Trim, Co Meath, on July 8.
Mr Garrigan said he was still in disbelief after Brandy (12) turned up outside a house in Ballyfermot on Sunday.
He said: "Brandy is more to me than just a dog - he is my reason to get up in the morning and the reason I feel safe at night. I'm over the moon to get my best friend back."
Mr Garrigan's son Aidan said: "Brandy saw him and the tail started wagging immediately and he ran to him.
"When we got him home he just ran around and around the garden.
"You could see the joy in the dog's face and Dad was, I think initially, just overwhelmed."
Investigations by Trim gardai and Meath dog warden Alan Nolan, as well as a public appeal, led to the discovery of Brandy.
Aidan said: "I got sent some pictures on Sunday of a dog similar to Brandy and we drove up to Ballyfermot to get him.
"Dad had nearly convinced himself that it wasn't him so he wouldn't be disappointed again."
Aidan said he had spent four weeks "making sure no stone was left unturned" in the hunt for his father's pet.
"Brandy wouldn't give up on us so there was no way we were giving up on him even though the odds were against us with each passing day," said Aidan.
"Dad has had Brandy since he was a pup and he never roamed from the house. Dad was just heartbroken over the last few weeks."
When they found the dog they had to make sure it was Brandy.
"We still didn't know for definite until Anne McDonnell of Clondalkin Animal Aid rushed over to scan the microchip number, which confirmed it was him," said Aidan.
"Throughout our search, we received thousands of messages of support from people in Ireland and across the UK, Germany, France, the US and Australia."
They wished to thank Detective Jill Mangan and all in Trim gardai, Mr Nolan and friend Sarah Hanlon.
"Only for them and their investigations, we would still be searching today," said Aidan.
"Our thoughts are with all those who are without their pets due to thieves. The law has to change in respect to the theft of pets and I will endeavour to get more stringent regulations put in place."
Mr Nolan said: "This just proves you should never give up on a dog if it's lost. We didn't and thankfully our investigations led to Brandy's recovery. Being microchipped is extremely important."