A stolen dog that was found dumped at the side of a canal nearly 200 miles away from home has been reunited with her family in Gloucestershire.
French Bulldog Minnie went missing in March and was found 170 miles away in Hapton, near Burnley, on 28 November by a woman walking her dog.
Minnie was found so severely injured that she needed her leg amputated.
On having her beloved animal home, owner Staci Day said: "We weren’t sure we would ever see her again when she went missing so we are over-the-moon to have her back in time for Christmas."
She added: “Minnie was outside in the garden in March when she disappeared. We were looking for her thinking she had perhaps escaped but there was no sign of her anywhere.
“We reported her missing but thought she may have been involved in a road accident as there is a busy road nearby. We thought we might not ever find her especially as time went by.
“So it was quite a shock when I got a call from the RSPCA to tell me she was found 170 miles away and she would be able to return home.
“It is so sad she had been neglected and has lost her leg but she doesn’t seem to be letting it bother her and she is back to her playful and loving self.
"The children are really thrilled to have her home and have been playing and fussing her - this has made it a perfect Christmas."
RSPCA animal rescuer, inspector Ryan King, was tasked with saving Minnie's life when she was found dumped at the side of the canal.
He has launched an investigation to find out what happened to her and how she ended up with such severe injuries.
He did say, however, that returning Minnie to her family was the silver lining of such a sad story.
"It was great to see such a happy ending after all Minnie has endured. She was so excited to see her family," Ryan said.
“As soon as I got her out of the van and started walking towards the house she started pulling me as she knew where she was going.
“She rushed straight over to Staci with her tail wagging and jumping up at her. She looked so happy to be home - and was enjoying getting lots of fuss and love."
Fortunately for Minnie, who was microchipped, the RSPCA could identify her owners and get her home.
Ryan said: “This really does highlight why microchipping your pet is so important and it is vitally important to tell the chip company yourself if any contact details change.”
The three-legged dog seems to be settling back at home very well, the animal welfare charity said.
Staci’s three children Joshua, 13, Ella, 9, and Jacob, 6, were also delighted about their early and unexpected Christmas present.
Anyone who knows about the whereabouts of Minnie during the time she was missing is urged to contact the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.