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Many of us are angry at Facebook after it was found the social media platform was sharing our private information with their advertisers, and for good reason. Several of my friends said they were considering leaving it entirely, but I personally am lucky I stayed, as Facebook, friends and strangers returned my little dog to me after she was lost, or more likely stolen.

It happened on the evening of 1 January 2019, when my Happy New Year turned to sadness but my little dog Nina was back the next day.

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A leisurely stroll on the beach turns tragic

I was walking with my two dogs, Nina and Rafa, on the beach in La Cala de Mijas when I saw two people sitting against the wall. The dogs were off-leash and are very friendly, so they went to greet them. They came back to me and the people smiled and waved as we walked on.

Then an English tourist walked up to me, commenting on how cute my dogs are and telling me all about hers. While chatting, I kept an eye out for the two dogs who were sniffing around close by.

Suddenly I noticed there was only one dog, Rafa. My little female dog, Nina, was nowhere to be seen and the two people I had seen sitting on the beach were also gone.

Searching high and low for my dog

I searched all along the beach and even went up to the coastal highway above, but there was no sign of Nina. It was now getting dark, so I headed home and made a post in the La Cala de Mijas group on Facebook.

Within what seemed like minutes, people were sharing the following post about a dog being rescued in La Cala.

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It was obvious from the photos that this was Nina!

A kind driver found her around two km, or just over a mile away, right in the middle of the traffic on the coastal highway! As all the local vets were closed for the holidays, they took her to the Triple A Marbella animal rescue facility. Naturally, this was a huge relief for me. However, she was found virtually minutes after I lost her and there is no way my little dog could have run that far on her own.

We have a group of nasty people in the area who like to kidnap dogs and when they see a "lost dog" poster, they then demand a ransom. My strong hunch is that she was stolen by the two people I had seen on the beach and they had run to their car to take her away. Knowing my little girl, she probably made a huge fuss and they then dumped her on the highway, where anything could have happened.

Triple A informed me on Facebook I could only collect her after 2 PM on 2 January, as the president had to be there to handle the process. Even though I knew she was safe, I had a terrible night, thinking how terrified my little dog must have been.

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Locked out of my apartment

The next day I got ready to go with a friend to collect Nina and took Rafa for a short walk beforehand. There was only one problem with this. Because of my nervous state about Nina, I managed to lock myself out of my apartment! The key was left inside the door. My 2019 bad luck continued.

Rafa and I then travelled to Triple A in Marbella to collect Nina and I kept going back to my apartment to see if my neighbours were around. We share a roof terrace with a fence in between and they have often done the same thing, leaving the key inside. It is then easy to climb over and access the apartment and as it happened, I had left the balcony door open. However, it turned out my neighbours were away and only got back much later the next day.

I spent the night with friends, where Nina and Rafa settled down easily and then headed out again with my dogs in the morning to try and get into the apartment, preferably without having to pay around 150 Euros to a locksmith! As I walked into my little street, a municipal cherry picker vehicle drove in and they were working on various electrical problems in the area.

I braced myself, thinking how cheeky I was to ask for help, and then approached a young apprentice electrician and explained my problem. He spoke to his boss, who then sent the crane lift up to the fourth floor, where all the roof terraces are for my building. I watched as he climbed precariously onto the roof then disappeared. Within minutes, the smiling man was standing at the front door of the building, keys in hand!

Naturally, the boss got a huge hug for his remarkable effort and I then had to let him come up to my apartment, to climb back over the terraces and get back into the crane to lower it again. Also, Nina is not going off her lead at any time in the near future! So after Nina was rescued once, and I was rescued twice, let's hope 2019 will now get back on track.