A woman burst into tears after her dog which was stolen when she was just 12 years old was returned to her.
Tae Bennett was walking her chihuahua Ollie in a park in Beckenham, south London when thieves cut the lead, bundled him into a car and drove away.
The travel company worker, now 22, thought she would never see him again after offering a reward on missing posters and nothing came back.
She eventually got a dachshund named Chilli to replace him.
But last Friday Tae was stunned to receive a phone call explaining her beloved pet was still alive and well.
Tae said: ‘When I was told he’d been found alive I just burst into tears.
‘It was incredible and I never thought this would happen.’
Although she had thought he was dead, Ollie was found by some children in a park in Hounslow, west London, some 20 miles away from where he was originally stolen.
Tae added: ‘Ollie was found in a park by some children, I’ve no clue where he came from.
‘Overall he is in good condition but he still needs to be checked over by a vet.
‘I think Ollie has been used for breeding and either got let out accidentally, or purposely due to his age.
‘He was two years old when taken from me and still remembers his life before being taken, we are both very happy he is finally with us.’
She was reunited with Ollie the same day and thankfully he and Chilli get on very well.
‘They love each other and cuddle up together, which is lovely,’ Tae added.
‘He has settled in so well, considering I have a very needy Dachshund. I often catch them having a cuddle on the beanbag.
‘He doesn’t seem to be in any distress or pain and enjoys going out in our garden for a run around.’
Tae said her family had received a call from a Hounslow council animal welfare officer to explain a dog had been found near Hounslow Heath.
‘And due to his distinct, yet grey markings and microchip he was identified as Ollie,’ she explained.
‘After being missing for just under a decade I couldn’t believe it was him.
‘As soon as Ollie came into the room and heard my stepdad’s voice, he immediately walked over to him, rolled onto his back and let him scratch his belly. He definitely recognised him.’
She added it took Ollie ‘a little longer’ to recognise her as of course Tae has changed considerably since the age of 12.
‘Since Ollie has been home he has been showered with love,’ she said.
‘I’m really careful when I take him out now.
‘People really don’t realise how quickly this can happen and how devastating it is.’