A 12-year-old stray dog found roaming in an English village turned out to have been missing for several years – until an animal rescue and the community that fed her helped bring her to safety.
Volunteer nonprofit Lost Dog Recovery UK South said in a Facebook post someone told them in November about a small black dog running in the road near Crawley Down, a village in West Sussex, England.
“They stopped the traffic, let the dog disappear into the woodland and knew not to follow and just returned ASAP to leave food,” the organization said in a social media post on December 11.
The person asked around about the dog, a Patterdale terrier, and learned locals were familiar with and sometimes fed the animal, according to the post.
“Realizing it could just have been an ‘owned dog allowed to roam’ situation, a camera was taken over and food left anyway until more information could be gathered,” the nonprofit said.
The camera captured the dog wandering nearby a few times over three days, and by the third day, she appeared to be waiting for her dinner to arrive with the rescue group, they said.
Lost Dog Recovery UK South learned from locals the dog was “in good condition, fed and cared for,” but may have been straying for about a decade – a guesstimate that the rescue later learned was inaccurate.
The rescue established a feeding routine for the dog over a week, and her daytime visits for meals revealed she had graying eyebrows and muzzles, confirming she was a senior dog, according to the rescue.
On December 9, the volunteers left a trap for the dog along with a tempting meal: a warm roast chicken topped with paté. “We knew our little stray was picky and we had worked out what she liked,” the nonprofit said.
She wandered over to the trap that night.
“Looking over her shoulder a lot, and taking it nice and slowly, she made her way inside the trap, finally treading on the footplate and triggering the door,” the Facebook post read.
“Understandably, she was shocked and scared, but very gentle,” according to the rescue.
Through her microchip, they discovered the dog’s name is Rose and that she went missing in March 2017 within 24 hours of being adopted.
Through some investigating, the rescue learned Rose had been sighted in the initial 10 days of going missing, but the trail then went cold.
“Although we will never know when exactly she came to settle in Crawley Down, what we do know is that she is finally safe, and now will not spend the rest of her senior years fending for herself in the cold and wet,” the post read.
Rose’s initial owners were contacted, but they had relocated, their circumstances had changed and they could no longer care for her, according to Lost Dog Recovery UK South.
“They are thrilled she is safe and unhurt and, of course, sad they aren’t able to take her back,” the Facebook post read.
In an update on December 18, the nonprofit said Rose was receiving care at Last Chance Animal Rescue in Edenbridge, a town in Kent, England.
The organization also noted they have received many rehoming inquiries for Rose and said those interested in welcoming Rose to their home should contact Last Chance Animal Rescue.