There are few bonds more special than a boy and his dog. For 10-year-old Nikita Onanko, this was especially true. He and Niki, his six-month-old pug, were inseparable. So you could imagine how devastated he was when the pup was stolen from him.
It happened on October 15th in an ALDI’s parking lot in Clonard, Ireland. Nikita and his pup were waiting for his mother, Natalja, to finish up her grocery shopping. Suddenly, a stranger approached them and grabbed poor Niki away from the boy.
When Natalja left the supermarket, Nikita told her all about what happened, and the two got the word out that their little pooch had gone missing. The dognapping soon became the talk of the town on social media, and people started calling the police with information.
Police officer Jill Mangan followed up on the information, and on October 20th, little Niki was found locked in a shed in the garden of an unoccupied house over 180 kilometers (111 miles) away from his owner’s house!
When Natalja heard that Niki was alive and well (albeit a bit skinnier than usual), she was overjoyed—but also confused as to how Niki wound up there. Her theory is that the crooks were afraid to sell Niki because he is micro-chipped, and he would be identified upon receiving a scan from a vet. The mother is now urging all dog owners to micro-chip and register their pets.
The family is extremely grateful for Officer Mangan. Niki wasn’t the only dog found in the investigation—she also rescued a french bulldog who was stolen back in 2o16.
“It is a miracle. It is hard to believe Niki was found 180 km away in Meath when we live in Wexford,” said Natalja.
“When we told Nikita he cried and was so happy to be reunited with his puppy. At the moment he is afraid to go outside with him, so we keep Niki in,” she added.
It’s hard to blame Nikita for being worried about his dog.Thankfully, he’s safe now, and the boy and his dog can continue to grow up together!