Thanks to organistions including http://www.doglost.co.uk , ScannerAngel, forums, facebook, twitter, teams of supporters, and maybe even luck…pets and horses do get reunited with their owners but often after many years of heartache.
If you are lucky enough to find your pet or horse then the ownership can be disputed so we emphasize the need to take photographs of distinguishing features to prove you are the legitimate owner. Click here to visit our "preventative measures" page.
George – the Chocolate Labrador
On a Thursday evening in Salisbury George went missing, we do not know how he managed to get out, or whether he was "helped" out but we do know that George was seen on the town's CCTV being taken away by a local homeless man with a rope around his neck. We were beside ourselves with worry, not knowing where he was or how he was but we had a lead, we had a description of the man that had George. In those first few hours myself, my partner and as many friends as we could enlist the help of, searched the town turning every corner and expecting to see him there waiting for us. I called the dog warden, and every vet and welfare organisation in the area. I kept my phone close at hand expecting a call to say that George had been handed over but that call did not come.
Within hours, we had every bus driver, taxi driver, traffic warden, police officer, bouncer, and paramedic keeping their eyes peeled. Every dog walker, and passer by in town were asked if they had seen him. Panic started to set in around midnight as the night started to draw in as did the cold. We were worried about his arthritis worsening with every hour that passed. We stayed out all night scouring every alley and street corner but there was no sign of George or the man that CCTV had spotted. As the morning came we were starting to feel helpless but our search continued. We knew that we had to get the story of George's disappearance out to as many people as we could and as quick as we could as with every passing minute George was without his much needed medication.
In the morning I set myself at a computer whilst my partner and as many helpers he could find continued the search. I utilised the help of facebook and twitter to get information of George's disappearance along with a photo out to as many people as i could, within hours his story was spreading across social networks at great speed. By the end of the day, his story had over eight thousand shares on facebook alone. I alerted petlog as George was chipped and reported him missing on Doglost. I printed flyers and posters and my friends passed them out to shoppers in the town centre and posted them in every shop and available window they could. The messages and phone calls began to roll in thick and fast not only with messages of support but information on possible sightings as well. Over the course of the two days, most of the leads were incoherient and lead us to a dead end. One however was extremely helpful in tracking George. One young lady saw George with the man fitting the right description at Salisbury train station getting on a train to Portsmouth. We called the local police there immediately. They informed us that two of their officers had seen a man fitting our description with a "brown dog" busking in Portsmouth city centre. My partner drove to Portsmouth immediately in the hope of finding George. Just after he left, the police phoned me back to inform me that they had picked George up and that he was waiting in custody. Half an hour later my partner picked him up and the reaction he gave to seeing him was more than enough proof for the officers on the case that it was George. George went wild and gave him lots of slobbery Labrador kisses upon being released from the holding cage.
George had been missing for two days and two nights and it only hit me a few days later once everything had calmed down how lucky we had been. During George's disappearance I had become emotionally and physically drained. I had not slept and eaten very little, the worry had taken its toll as had the guilt. I felt i had let him down or not done enough to keep him safe. I was plagued by what-ifs and the only thing that kept me going was to never stop looking for George. My partner was suffering too but in my weakness he was a mountain of strength for me. He was the only person that i would ask....''we will find him wont we'' as he was the only person that understood how I felt so the only person that I believed when he answered ''of course we will''.
On George's return home the once bouncy and confident Labrador that we knew had disappeared and been replaced with a frightened and nervous one. His back legs were solid where the cold had inflamed his arthritis and he found it hard to walk. He was taken straight to the vets. We found George to have cuts and lacerations around his neck from the rope that had been wound around him. The open wounds had become infected and George was obviously in pain. His paws had been worn down and for some days after he would cry when he tried to wash them. Once George had received veterinary attention for his neck and paws we dosed him up on his arthritis medication, we made him a warm bed and rested him. He was exhausted and slept throughout the day and following night. The last two days had impacted George not only physically but mentally as well and it soon became obvious that the emotional scars ran much deeper. He would shy away from food when offered and run and hide when confronted with anyone or anything he felt he could not trust. In two days his trust and loyalty had been broken and we realised that we had a fight on our hands to build it back up again. It’s been over a week since George came back to us and with every day we are rewarded with small parts of our George being returned to us. His love of food and confidence in people is slowly returning. He has started to feel happy enough to join us for a cuddle on the couch and has started to take joy in playing with his toys or partake in his favourite game of fetch again.
George cannot tell me what that man put him through but the physical and mental scars tell a story and its one which has filled me with not only sadness but anger. George suffered terrible abuse at the hands of that man and i still have moments where i sit and cry for what George has been put through. The one thing that helps though is seeing that tail wag more and more each day and there is no better medicine in the world to make me feel better then seeing his little face looking up at me in the morning and giving me a big wet Labrador kiss to start my day.”
Bailey and Tinkerbell – Minature Ponies
Horsewatch groups up and down the country have been on alert since 29 December when Bailey and Tinkerbell were taken from stables in Charlton, Middlesex.
They belong to Daniel Nicholls, 30, a former show jumper who was paralysed in a riding accident two years ago.
Mr Nicholls also set up a Facebook page and distributed hundreds of fliers.
A Horsewatch member saw the ponies in a field and contacted the police who were able to reunite Mr Nicholls with his ponies.
Betty Cobrol of Surrey Horsewatch said: “Through all the publicity we made it quite hot for anybody to keep them. This is a great result.”
Mr Nicholls told H&H: "I want to thank everyone so, so much for all their help and support in trying to find my miniature horses Bailey and Tinkerbell.
"Bailey is still her laid back self but Tinkerbell is still a bit traumatised by it all, but she is slowly coming round to being to back home.
"I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me get my horses back."
-Charlotte White, H&H deputy news editor, 18 January, 2010. Taken from Horse & Hound news.
We have more stories of owners reunited with their pets and horses – click here to read more.