Pietermaritzburg - An ecstatic Hilton family have been reunited with their dog a week after she was stolen outside their property. Melissa Wessels, who lives with her mother and sister, said they were distraught after they realised that their miniature Yorkshire terrier, named Potjies, had disappeared last Tuesday after a light rain storm.“She might have gotten a fright from the storm and ran outside. I do not know how she managed to get out of the gate but I think she did and that’s where she was stolen,” said Wessels.Wessels said they had adopted Potjies and her parents Zina and Troy, a year and a half ago.“Our dogs are our babies. It was such a huge shock when we realised that Potjies was missing.“Potjies is fragile, timid and a very scared dog. She is always following her mother around and her being missing was heartbreaking for all of us,” said Wessels.Wessels said they resorted to social media and started printing out posters, pleading with people to assist them in finding Potjies. After they received no responses, their gardener advised them to translate the posters to Zulu so he could take the posters to Sweetwaters where he lives.“My mother received a call on Monday afternoon from a man from Sweetwaters, who said he had seen a man from his township with our dog.“He told us that he had approached the man and told him to return the dog, but he said he wanted to fatten Potjies and sell her for a fortune. “He also said the man sometimes hit Potjies because she refused to eat the pap he fed her,” said Wessels.She said they met up with the man at the Hilton Quarry on Tuesday and went to the police station to ask the police to accompany them to the house he directed them to.“The police were so helpful, they responded immediately and accompanied us to the house. Their assistance was commendable,” said Wessels.When they got to the house the police officer calmly asked the man there to give back the dog, but he denied that he had the dog.The man eventually admitted to taking Potjies and directed them to a “small tin house”. “We could hear Potjies crying out from the little tin shack, I think she could hear our voices.“She was locked alone in a dark small shack with no windows. “When we got her she was screaming and shaking. She had lost a lot of weight, she also had a gash on her leg and was limping.“Her mother, Zina, was distraught and stressed after Potjies went missing and would wait by the gate hoping Potjies would come back. Their reunion was emotional. They were jumping and licking each other.“They are inseparable. I have them safely locked in the house to make sure that this never happens again,” said Wessels.Wessels said the most disappointing thing is that the man who stole Potjies is well known to them, as he works down the road from their home.She also said she is grateful to the two men from Sweetwaters who tipped them off about the location of Potjies, and the Hilton police officers for helping them reunite with their pet. “I just cannot say thank you enough. I am happy Potjies is back home and grateful to everyone who assisted as she wouldn’t be back home had it not been for them. Thank you,” she said, adding that other people who have lost their furry friends should never give up. Wessels opened a case against the man who stole Potjies, and when the police went to arrest him later on Tuesday he had packed his bags and fled.