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'Today Is A Miracle:' Dog's Stolen Ashes Returned To Widow On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Staten Island woman who was heartbroken when someone stole her beloved pet's ashes says the package she has desperately been searching for mysteriously showed up Tuesday in the same spot it was stolen.

"I am just overwhelmed. And now I can get on with my life," widow Gloria Johnson told CBS2's Jessica Layton, wiping away tears after a rocky couple months. "I was losing faith in people."

Shortly after Johnson's husband passed away from lung cancer, her treasured dog Dakotah died from complications of a possible stroke. Then, after she had the Yorkshire terrier cremated and the ashes delivered to her Staten Island home, someone took them from her front porch.

A neighbor's security camera recorded the bold, middle-of-the-day crime.

"Knowing that I might never get him back is hard. It's just not fair," Johnson said last week.

She had been plastering the neighborhood with posters, asking for help ever since. Then on Tuesday, she had a little of her lost faith restored.

"This morning, my neighbor came upstairs and she said, 'You better sit down, because I have Dakotah's ashes,'" Johnson told Layton.

Whoever stole the ashes in the first place returned them to the porch, along with a note.

"He sent a letter saying he was sorry and he was on mental medication that he didn't take it that day. He apologized, and I'm fine with it. I got my dog back, that's all I wanted," Johnson said. "Now he's got a place to rest where he's loved, so I'm happy – very, very happy.

"I just thank God. Today's a miracle."

Since Dakotah would have turned 15 Tuesday, there's no better day to have him back in a special spot in Johnson's bedroom and close to her heart, Layton reported.

Johnson said she does not plan to press charges against the person who stole the ashes. She doesn't want to meet him either.

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