Dog's incredible journey ends up in emotional reunion in West Norfolk
It was the moment Simon and Caroline Hall had given up hope of ever seeing – being reunited with their cocker spaniel stolen six years ago.
The couple were left bereft when Bonnie was snatched from their Durham farm in May 2014.
But today (Saturday), on the day before her 10 th birthday, they got her back – 200 miles away in West Norfolk.
Emotional Caroline, 48, said: “We just can’t believe it. It was only a couple of years ago that I gave up hope but I was still checking all the lost dog sites.”
It’s thought Bonnie was stolen to breed litters up to twice a year. Terrington Veterinary Centre, where she underwent a hysterectomy yesterday, believes the most recent litter was within the last two months.
Bonnie was found in a bad way, wandering in Wisbech Park on Thursday morning.
Fortunately she had been microchipped, as is law now, and the Halls could be traced.
Simon, 50, was stunned when a dog warden rang him in his car with the news.
“He came into the house deadly quiet and just said ‘I’ve had a phone call – they’ve found Bonnie’,” said Caroline.
“I didn’t believe and I wasn’t going to believe it until we saw photos of her.”
Simon said: “Gosh knows what she’s been through, it doesn’t bear thinking about but at least we can get her back for a few more years and give her a bit of love and care and attention.”
“It’s all a bit surreal,” said Caroline. “I’d prepared myself for the fact she might look in a bad way but actually she’s looking quite well. I know the vets have taken wonderful care of her.”
She said Bonnie had a “beautiful character” previously and would sit pitchside until their young son Robbie had finished playing rugby.
“The other little children would take her for a walk. She was a pleasure to have, “ she added.
“We’ll now take her back home and introduce her to our other dog, Jessie, and just have a quiet night in front of the fire.
“I think her birthday will be a quiet one too.”
Fenland District Council dog warden Caroline Trigg, who also runs Ravenswood Pet Rescue at Walton Highway, was delighted to be able to reunite the Halls with Bonnie.
“With missing dogs, sometimes they go in the morning and are back in the afternoon – or a couple of days at most. I’ve never known a dog to have been gone this long before.
“I think Bonnie’s had a hard time with the breeding side. Someone has made a lot of money out of her, which is very sad. And she has clearly never been to a vet’s over those six-and-a-half years or her chip would have been read.
“But being able to get her back to her loving home is wonderful – just the good news we need this year.”
Also enjoying the reunion today was the Halls’ 21-year-old daughter Katie.