Trisha Joseph, 45, had been searching for six-year-old springer spaniel Belle ever since the dog was stolen from a barn in Defynnog, Mid Wales, in December 2016.
The professional gardener and her partner Wyn Price joined more than 500 Facebook groups in their two-year appeal for information about Belle, which eventually paid off on Friday after supporters saw an advert there for the dog’s sale.
Miss Joseph said she contacted the 18-year-old seller “Jimmy” in Worcester, more than 70 miles away, who was “devastated” to learn he had been given a stolen dog.
Miss Joseph said: “He had no idea that she was stolen, and was absolutely devastated.
“He said we were welcome to go and see her, just to find out one way or the other. He has started working full time and has no time, so had to sell her.
“My wonderful sisters Eleanor and Julie took me to get the best Christmas present yet.
“Up to Worcester we went. Jimmy phoned to say his boss had let him go early, so he could make sure he was there waiting for us. One look at the dog, and we all knew it was Belle.
“We scanned her any way, and showed Jimmy the paperwork. Jimmy had obviously looked after her, and she obviously cared for him, the way she was looking at him, melted my heart.
“He is such a lovely lad, and in a way, I was sad to be taking Belle from him. But the feeling of having her home is indescribable.
“It means the world having her home, it’s been a tough two years and it’s such a relief knowing she was looked after for the last six months of her ordeal.
“The world needs more people like Jimmy. She’s doing great, it’s as if she’s never been away. We’ve never given up hope in finding her, but can’t believe she is actually home.”