An English tourist has been re-united with his pet dog after it was stolen in Limerick – and he was left with no choice but to return home without his beloved border terrier Willow.

Londoner Michael O’Reilly had all but given up hope of ever seeing his pet pooch again when he contacted the Limerick Leader newspaper.

A heartbroken Michael had returned to England without Willow after the 15-year-old partially blind dog was stolen from his parked jeep in Limerick.

He spent hours searching for the dog before setting off for the ferry home to England after he had made contact with the newspaper.

The Leader printed a story outlining Michael’s predicament – and reader Alison Dillon from the city then spotted a dog matching Willow’s description as she drove into the city from her home.

“It was pitch dark, rainy and windy and I saw this small dog in my headlights. She was walking down the middle of the road. I stopped and picked her up and brought her home straight away,” Alison told the Limerick Leader.

“I could see she was a very old dog and very confused. She was wet and cold. Some days later, I read about Michael’s plight in the Limerick Leader.

“The story had his number and I rang him straight away. He was delighted and I was thrilled to have such good news for him. All’s well that end’s well.”


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A delighted Michael returned to Ireland via the next available ferry and was reunited with his beloved Willow in Limerick.

“I’d like to thank Alison for her unbelievable kindness in saving Willow. It’s a miracle she was not run over,” said Michael.

“It was very callous for those who took Willow to dump the dog on the road. She is absolutely perfect. If only she could talk and tell me the story of what happened to her.”

The story took another turn when Alison refused to accept a $700 reward Michael had offered for the safe return of Willow.

He said: “She was adamant she didn’t want it. I kept trying to give the money to her but she wouldn’t take it. It just shows you how lovely she is, a genuinely nice person.”

Alison added: “I have dogs myself and if they got lost, I’d hope somebody would do the same: I’m absolutely delighted Michael is reunited with Willow.”

Michael O’Reilly and his dog WillowLimerick Leader