A golden retriever who trekked 40 miles from his new home back to the owners who surrendered him is now happily settled with his adoptive family.
Cooper the golden retriever walked for a staggering 27 days through fields, woods, and across main roads, traveling from Dungannon, County Tyrone, to Tobermore, County Londonderry, in Northern Ireland.
The team mobilized to help save Cooper, setting up feeding stations monitored by cameras in areas where sightings had been reported, making door-to-door calls in those areas, and posting appeals on social media.
They made posters and began putting them up in the areas Cooper went missing from and the areas he was sighted.
“Our physical search team put in a lot of hours searching fields that we believed Cooper could have been in, while our online search team contacted numerous local businesses, via both phone call and email to raise as much awareness for Cooper as possible," Clare said.
Over three weeks after Cooper went missing, Lost Paws received a phone call from a person who recognized the dog, saying the pup had been sighted in Tobermore. The charity informed Fleming, who immediately went to go and get him. Finally, Cooper was found and reunited with his adoptive family on April 27.
“Once he was secured and everything had settled,” Clare said, “we realized he had traveled 40 miles through fields over those 27 days, and had ended up back at his previous address. We really couldn't believe it.”
Incredibly, although he had lost a lot of weight, the golden retriever was thankfully "uninjured and in relatively good condition,” considering the amount of time he was out, all alone.
"I'd have loved to have taken both of them but three big Goldens would have been too much for me to look after and in the end it was literally the toss of a coin that decided which one to take home—it was Cooper.”
Although able to confirm that the dog was microchipped, Clare said they knew very little about the circumstances that led to Cooper being rehomed.
“We try to focus on Cooper’s wonderful new family instead,” Clare said, adding that the pup is now doing brilliantly, and getting on great with his new sister, Molly.
“His family immediately started taking great care of him, helping him gain weight, and settle into his new home. He is a very well looked after and loved boy. ... This story may appear sad in the beginning, but I think it's so important to remember that really this is a very happy ending. His family never gave up on him for a second, and that's what really matters to us.”