Homeward hound!

My miss­ing dog was found six years later…

Chat - - Inside - By Cheryl Mccabe, 32, from Mid­dles­brough

My son El­liot, 6 at the time, didn’t re­ally stand a chance – as he rolled about on the grass, a fluffy bun­dle of black fur smoth­ered his face in slob­bery kisses.

Mitzy, our gor­geous Pat­terdale ter­rier, and El­liot were joined at the hip.

‘Here comes dou­ble trou­ble,’ me and my part­ner Gary, 34, would joke.

Then one day in 2011, I let Mitzy, then 6, out into the gar­den. By then, we’d had her for six years.

She’d spend hours in the gar­den, ex­plor­ing.

But when I went to call her in a bit later, she was gone.

‘Mitzy!’ I shouted, ex­pect­ing to hear a rus­tle in the bushes. Noth­ing. ‘She must’ve got out through a gap in the fence,’ I fret­ted to Gary.

‘She can’t have gone far,’ he re­as­sured me.

So we trawled the streets, shout­ing her name and squeak­ing her favourite toys…

The neigh­bours even came out to help.

We’d had Mitzy mi­crochipped and she was wear­ing a col­lar.

I was hope­ful that some­body would find her and get in touch with us.

But the hours ticked by, and still we’d had no luck in find­ing her.

By the time it got dark later, I was in ab­so­lute bits.

‘What if the poor thing’s hurt and scared?’ I sobbed.

Poor El­liot was ab­so­lutely be­side him­self.

He’d helped us search, too, des­per­ate to find his best pal.

The fol­low­ing day, I made posters and plas­tered them all over the lo­cal area.

But the days passed and there was still no sign…

‘She’s not com­ing back,’ I cried to Gary.

I was con­vinced she’d been kid­napped, or had been hit by a car and was in­jured.

I had night­mares ev­ery night about her.

The days turned into months, and then years.

In time, I went on to have

Char­lie, now 5, fol­lowed by Harry, 3, and Freddy, 1. We also got two other dogs, Rosie the shih-tzu and Weener the dachs­hund. Al­though we never ever for­got about Mitzy. When­ever I was out walk­ing the dogs, I was for­ever do­ing dou­ble-takes at pooches who looked like her. ‘I won­der where Mitzy is right now,’ I said to Gary, in March this year. Spook­ily, just two weeks later, I re­ceived a voice­mail from a vet in Thirsk, a 45-minute drive away. ‘We’ve got your dog…’ said the mes­sage. But Rosie and Weener were at home with me. ‘It’s Mitzy,’ she added. ‘Some­one found her aban­doned on the A19.’ I lis­tened to the mes­sage three times, then passed the phone to El­liot, now 12. ‘She def­i­nitely said Mitzy,’ he beamed. My heart was beat­ing so fast. I phoned the vet back and ex­plained that Mitzy had gone miss­ing six years ago.

‘I re­ally can’t wait to see her,’ I sobbed.

The vet told me that they wanted to film the re­union for the TV show The York­shire Vet on Chan­nel 5.

So, the fol­low­ing morn­ing, I headed off to col­lect my long-lost pooch.

At the vet’s, a camera crew was stand­ing by.

‘Be warned,’ the vet told me. ‘Mitzy’s not be­ing very re­spon­sive to the staff.’

They sus­pected that she was a bit de­pressed or scared.

When Mitzy was fi­nally brought out to see me, my heart stopped.

The last time I’d seen her, she was a bun­dle of black fluff.

Now aged 12, she was go­ing grey around the eyes.

Luck­ily she recog­nised me straight­away, though, and came bound­ing over, with her tail wag­ging.

‘I’ve missed you, too,’ I wept, mak­ing a huge fuss of her. It was so emo­tional.

Back at home, El­liot was ab­so­lutely over the moon.

‘Where have you been? I searched ev­ery­where!’ he said, cud­dling her.

Things had changed a lot since Mitzy was last home.

Now she had three lit­tle broth­ers and two doggy pals to get to know.

Thank­fully, they all got along fa­mously – but, of course, El­liot was still her favourite.

‘It’s like she’s never been away,’ Gary laughed.

Mitzy made her TV de­but in June, and the kids were so ex­cited to see her on the telly.

I of­ten won­der what hap­pened to her over the years.

The vet had checked her over when she was found, and she was per­fectly healthy.

I sus­pect she was kid­napped and then aban­doned be­cause of her age. Well, she al­ways had and al­ways will have a firm place in our fam­ily.

Hav­ing Mitzy home re­ally is the stuff of dreams.

And I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter furry-tail end­ing!

Now aged 12, Mitzy was go­ing grey around the eyes…

a year Mitzy and El­liot be­fore she dis­ap­peared

Re­united on The York­shire Vet Me and Mitzy were on TV!

An older-look­ing Mitzy home with me and El­liot

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