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A Stray Dog's Tale

Please do not presume that this animal has been abandoned, left to roam, or that it was neglected or ill-treated by its owner. Dogs that are outside for even a short time soon get dirty and bedraggled. Most dogs will eat as if they are starving even if they have been fed half an hour before. Dog theft is fast becoming a major problem and this dog that you have found many have been stolen and dumped many miles away from home.

Many families from all over the country are praying for a miracle that will bring a much loved family member home. If you are a kind person who has taken in a stray with all the best intensions, can you be sure there is not a broken hearted family waiting for news? I have experienced the heartbreak and pain of not knowing if they are warm, if they are hungry, if they are in pain, if they are being cuddled and loved or neglected and ill-treated. It is all consuming and at times almost unbearable. I can understand that you will have grown to love this dog very much and the thought of giving them up would be so very hard but please spare a thought for those who loved them first and put yourself in their place. How do you think you would feel in similar circumstances’?

If you do find a stray dog you are required by law to report the dog to the local dog warden. Their number can usually be found via your local council. You can also check website such as ours. or, speak to nearby shelters they will know if people are searching locally, or take the dog to your nearest vet and ask them to check for a microchip. I was lucky my boy came home but I had to wait four years, please don’t let others wait as long as me.

Alfie’s Story... Alfie The Dog Who Came Home

In 2002 my house was broken into and my beautiful Bull Terrier Alfie was stolen. I would love to meet the person who took him and have the opportunity to explain how their actions affected me and my family. We were very lucky because after four years and twelve days we did get Alfie home, but for those four years my life was a nightmare.

In the first initial days, although constantly crying being unable to sleep or eat I was hopeful that we would soon be reunited. Our local police were very helpful as they could prove that Alfie had been taken during the burglary and made extensive enquires and raided at least three properties locally. After three days with him still missing my anxiety levels started rising considerably. What was happening to him? Did he have food and water? Was he warm? Was he being treated kindly? Did he wonder where I was and why I didn’t come for him? The distress I felt was  was indescribable in fact I am crying now as I write, even now after 13 years I find it almost impossible to tell the tale without crying. I was unable to work; I couldn’t concentrate and ended up off work  for eight weeks, first time since starting work at 16 I had ever had to have a Drs note.

Dogs Lost was still a year away from being founded, there was no Facebook until 2004 and in fact we didn’t even own a computer. The only options open to us were local papers and dogs homes. Even though Alfie was chipped we spent hours driving round dog’s homes, RSPCA centres, contacting dog wardens and trying to get the papers interested. Friends spent weekends giving out posters in the town centre and posting them to dog homes further afield but we heard nothing.

As the weeks turned to months and the months to years I found it got harder not easier. It was the not knowing, I used to think if he had escaped and been killed on the road, I would be able to grieve and move on, but the not knowing what was happening to him was almost unbearable. The thought that he was suffering would send me in to a panic, I had a constant nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach, I would day dream about seeing him tied up outside a shop and then agonise about what I would do if that happened, should I just steel him back, follow him and find out where he lived, phone the police, phone my husband, what would I do if his new family loved him too? I would plan hideous revenge on the people who took him and how I would make them suffer. Looking back I’ve no idea how I continued to function on a daily basis. In December 2005 I decided that I would make one more desperate attempted to find out what had happened to him.  I printed hundreds of these posters  and posted them to every dog paper, magazine, bull terrier club and  dogs home that I could find an address for, still nothing.

Then Easter Sunday 16th April 2006, we got the phone call we had been waiting for. My husband answered his mobile and was asked by Stokenchurch Dog Rescue if we had lost a red and white Bull Terrier. I was upstairs getting ready to go to a friend’s BBQ when I heard him shouting me “they’ve found Alf, they’ve found him". It was almost unbelievable I would see my boy again, we left for Stokenchurch immediately. The drive from our home in Staffordshire took about an hour and a half, I was desperate that no one should claim him before we got there and phoned on route to ensure that didn’t let him go with anyone until we arrived.

What a shock to see my beautiful boy, all thin and dirty, so dirty I could hardly tell what colour he was, but that tail was still wagging and he was so pleased to see us I am sure he recognised us.

We had a very happy two years with Alfie before he passed away peacefully  in front of the fire. I have learnt not to dwell on where he had been and what had happen to him on those four years and twelve day. Better to spend the time being grateful for his return and remembering how last two years were full of football (his favourite pastime) love and cuddles, warm beds full food bowls and plenty of treats. We all cried buckets when he died but they lacked the desperation and pain that was behind the tears shed when he was lost.  Alfie was the Dog who came home, please help all the other lost and stolen dog to find their way home to the families that love them.

Contact us for more information or if you want to get involved and please donate to our charity now.

The UK's National Lost Pet Microchip database and Lost Pet & Found Pet Reunification service. We are here to help stem the rising tide of dog theft and rural crime in the Thames Valley area. With thanks to Dogs Trust for their support. The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. DTA is pleased to support Pet Theft Awareness, a campaign which highlights the danger faced by owners of all pets and horses. Please support them! With thanks to Our Dogs for their support.