Miss­ing dog back with owner af­ter three years

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts - By Bess Brown­ing

A dog de­scribed as a “lit­tle mir­a­cle” has been re­united with its de­lighted owner – nearly three years af­ter go­ing miss­ing.

Stafford­shire bull ter­rier Dolce was just a puppy on Mother’s Day 2013, when she jumped out the back of a car in Lyminge and ran off, leav­ing her owner Vic­to­ria Hilden heart­bro­ken.

But al­most three years down the line, mother-of-one Vic­to­ria, now 27, says she felt her legs buckle when she re­ceived a phone call from Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s dog war­den claim­ing they had found Dolce.

She said: “The day she went miss­ing, a friend was look­ing af­ter her and when the boot was opened in Lyminge, she jumped out and ran off.

“We looked ev­ery­where, speak­ing to ev­ery­one, go­ing in the pubs and ask­ing ev­ery­one, but there was noth­ing.”

Vic­to­ria and her fam­ily went back the next day and plas­tered the vil­lage with posters, as well as mak­ing the po­lice, coun­cil and dog wardens aware.

Months went by with no word and Vic­to­ria, who lives in Upchurch, be­gan los­ing hope, un­til she re­ceived a call from Ash­ford’s dog war­den.

She added: “I was just sit­ting at home watch­ing the tele­vi­sion when the phone rang and some­one said they were from the coun­cil and had my dog.

“I stood up and my legs buck- led from un­der­neath me. I was shak­ing, cry­ing, my heart was go­ing and I was pac­ing up and down.”

Dolce was re­turned to Vic­to­ria, while the fam­ily she had been sold to kept one of her pup­pies.

Vic­to­ria added: “She recog­nised me straight away. She was jump­ing up, kiss­ing my face. It’s like she hasn’t changed at all.

“I want to let other peo­ple know who have miss­ing dogs that there is al­ways hope.

“Don’t ever give up hope. I knew she was go­ing to come back … I just didn’t re­alise it would take this long.”

Pic­ture: Andy Pay­ton FM4194065

Vic­to­ria Hilden with her son Nelson, two, and Dolce

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