In September last year, a Leighton Buzzard family appealed for the public’s help to find their missing dog, six months later he has been found 100 miles away in West Sussex.
Jasper, a one year old Whippet, has been reunited with his family in Sandhills, thanks to his microchip.
The family had Jasper since he was eight weeks old and he had just turned one when he was stolen from Astral Park.
At the time, his owner Michael Ford, told the LBO: “We are desperate to track him down.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that we loved him as part of the family, and not knowing where he is, or if he is being properly looked after, weighs constantly on our minds. Our three year old daughter often asks after him, they were very close.”
Jasper was brought into Heath Veterinary Clinic in Hurstepierpoint on Thursday, March 12, after being found by a local resident.
Having him back, happy and well, seems like a bit of a miracleMichael Ford
The vet scanned him for a microchip, the details of his owner came up and she contacted Michael to let him know Jasper had been found.
Natasha Carr, of Hurstepierpoint, went to the clinic that evening stating she had lost her dog, described as Jasper.
In October, Natasha saw Jasper (known to her family as Blue) chained to a caravan in a car park close to Hurstpierpoint and was concerned due to his malnourished appearance, she paid the apparent owner and took the dog home.
She said: “He looked so neglected I had to do something and immediately took him home, it never occurred to me he may have been stolen.
The family are delighted to have their Whippet back, Michael said: “We honestly thought that we would never see Jasper again and cannot thank Wendy and Heath Vets enough.
“We thought he had been stolen but had no proof, now we know the truth.
“When he went missing we went through all the usual stages - denial, anger, acceptance. It was horrible.
“Every time there was a sighting of a similar dog somewhere, we’d get in the car to travel there and put up posters or ride around on a bike asking dog walkers for information.
“We thought if we did hear, it would be bad news - that he’d been dumped at a vet, sick, or found in a really bad state.
“Having him back, happy and well, seems like a bit of a miracle.
“We told our toddler that he’d gone to live on a farm!
“We re-homed a stray from Spain about 3 months after he went missing, and it’s wonderful seeing them together.
“Jasper is not quite the same as before, still ridiculously soppy, but he’s much less boisterous and a lot less crazy when we’re out walking.
“I guess he’s sort of no longer a puppy. He is also a lot less fit.
“He could sprint like the wind when he went missing, especially if he was chasing a squirrel.”
Jasper’s story highlights the importance of microchipping, which will be a legal requirement for all dogs in England from April 2016.
Emily Chadburn, senior veterinary surgeon at Heath Vets, said: “Microchipping is extremely important. Unlike dog tags and collars, which can fall off or be removed, microchipping is a more permanent form of identifying a dog, although the law does state all dogs must wear a collar and tag with their owner’s details on it.
“Jasper was lucky but there are hundreds of lost, stolen and abandoned dogs across the UK that, without microchipping, cannot be identified and returned home safely.”
For more information about microchipping please visit: www.chipmydog.org.uk