Jo-Lynn Butt holds her dog Lilly moments after the Sheltie was found in Conception Bay South. Lilly escaped on New Year's Day from the family's back garden in Kelligrews and was found Sunday morning in Long Pond with the help of neighbours and other people in the community.
After a week of heartbreak and many tears shed, it's turned out to be a happy new year for Jo-Lynn Butt and her family after all.
That's after their beloved dog, Lilly, has finally been found.
"Oh my gosh, we're so grateful to have Lilly back home safe and sound," Butt said in her post on the Facebook page Help Find Lilly.
The touching photo of Butt holding Lilly minutes after the small Sheltie was found has been circulating like wildfire on social media.
As The Telegram reported earlier this week, Lilly escaped from the Butts' back garden in Kelligrews on the evening of New Year's Day.
The 20-pound, 1 1/2-year-old dog wiggled her way through a small opening in the fence around 7 p.m. just as the Town of Conception Bay South was setting off its annual fireworks.
Heartbroken, the family has been frantically looking for her ever since.
Butt took to social media and went live with a Facebook video, which shows her crying as she walks the roads in Kelligrews. She created a Facebook page, Help Find Lilly, which later turned into a Facebook group with the help of Snow Dogs NL.
Her status about Lilly's disappearance and her photo has been shared on Facebook and Twitter thousands of times.
Lilly was spotted by people in the community a few times and a few have tried to catch her, but she took off as they got close. There have been no sightings since Monday until Sunday morning.
A Conception Bay South couple, Glen and Nicole Martin, having seen media reports of the missing dog, contacted Butt immediately when they spotted Lilly on their lawn. Butt got there minutes later and saw it was her, but frightened by all the commotion, Lilly ran off.
Butt called a friend, Clarence Wilson, and his son Noah, who brought their German shepherd, Wilma, to track Lilly.
Wilson asked Butt to get a group of people together to surround the area. They managed to surround her by the Long Pond Harbour Authority, where they finally caught her.
Butt is blown away by the tremendous support she and her family have received in helping with the search — from those who walked the community to look for her and distributed posters to those who shared the news on social media.
"Thank you to everyone," Butt said in her Facebook post. "Lilly is now safe and sound because we all worked together. All I ask is that you pay it forward for someone else. I know I will."
Meanwhile, Butt will pay closer attention to scheduled fireworks in the town in the future. However, she still hopes regulations will be put in place to permit all town fireworks to only be set off during allotted times so pet owners can be better prepared.