When Dennis and Kath Tyler's beloved Holly disappeared, they never gave up on finding her. But as the days turned to weeks, then months, it seemed only a miracle could bring Holly back.
Then, on a chance visit to a pet shop four and a half years later, they saw a picture of her on a notice board.
She had been rescued from death row, had lost some weight and some fur, but Dennis, 53 and Kath, 50, from Eagle Moor, Lincoln, were certain it was her.
Reunited: Dennis and Kath Tyler found Holly (left) after nearly five years apart
'We still can't believe it, nobody can,' said Dennis. 'We used to slow down in the car every time we saw a dog like her, just in the slight hope it might be her.
'But the truth is that we thought maybe the worst had happened. The best we hope for was that somebody had found her and would be looking after her well.'
Where Holly, a labrador cross, had been for those years will probably remain a mystery forever, but she was found an hour's drive away in Doncaster, and by pure fluke was sent to kennels in Nottinghamshire, close to her original home.
She was fostered by a dog lover in Lincoln, and her picture was posted at the Pets At Home store.
Home at last: No one knows where Holly disappeared to nearly five years ago
'We saw the picture and we were pretty sure it was her,' said Dennis, a farm manager.
'But it was only when we got her home that we were completely sure. She knew her way around instantly. She must have recognised me because as soon as we met she let tickle her ears. She hadn't let anybody else go near her.
'We brought her home and she went straight to her room where she used to sleep. When we got inside the house she went through the kitchen and the lounge and was at the door of the room where she used to sleep in a basket on a bed.'
Val Hosegood, of Halfway Home Dog Rescue in Nottinghamshire, rescued Holly from destruction. She had been handed in as a stray and because of her age - she's now 14 - and poor condition, nobody wanted her.
'I went to the pound to collect some other dogs and there was this little black dog curled up and looking in a pretty bad way,' said Val. 'She was ready to be put down. Had we not taken her she would definitely have been put down. We are very happy she is now back with her family.'
Val rescued her from the Mount Pleasant Kennels, near Doncaster, had her checked by a vet, and placed her with a foster carer while she tried to find the owner.
Read more: Couple find dog's picture pinned to notice board and are reunited after four years | Mail Online