My missing dog was found six years later…
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