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Rescue dog escapes new owners and walks 40 miles back to former home that got rid of him

Rescue dog escapes new owners and walks 40 miles back to former home that got rid of him

An urgent search was launched to locate Cooper after he ran away from his new home

A rescue dog took his opportunity to make a break for it from his new owners and walked 40 miles back to his former home.

Cooper, an adorable Golden Retriever, was missing for nearly a month and covered an estimated 40 miles after spending just a few hours in his new home in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

His previous owners were no longer able to care for him and had to surrender him, which is when another family welcomed him with open arms where he would live out his days with another four-legged friend named Molly.

Cooper's missing poster.
Lost Paws NI

Described as being ‘extremely timid in a new environment’ by missing pets charity Lost Paws NI, Cooper managed to slip away, which is when his film-worthy adventure started.

The pooch was on the run for 25 days and managed to somehow evade capture and survive by himself.

The charity has calculated that he must have walked over 40 miles all by himself through back woods and main roads, probably at night-time.

Lost Paws NI leapt into action by sharing posts on social media and posters in the area, as well as feeding stations and door-to-door knocks to speak to locals.

A local charity launched a search effort to find Cooper.
Lost Paws NI

In a post updating their followers about Cooper’s wellbeing, the charity shared: “Several farmers reported seeing him, but as he was not posing any risk to his sheep they let him on his way (Thank you so much) - after several days Cooper vanished from where he had been staying and there were no leads or further information for a number of days.”

The search took a dramatic turn on Saturday, 22 April, when the charity received a tip-off that the canine had been spotted walking through fields and hanging around local properties. Five days later they got a call from a member of the public stating that they recognised Cooper and saw the desperate dog running towards his old home.

Cooper was spotted by members of the public.
Lost Paws NI

The charity explained: “We quickly contacted Nigel his new owner and around 20 minutes later a photo arrived in our inbox of a dishevelled but breathing Cooper, something we were absolutely elated to see.

“Cooper crossed main A-roads, forests, fields, country roads all over 27 days to make his way back home from an area he had never been in before. We are absolutely delighted to have been part of his rescue and a story that.”

Cooper, who could give Forrest Gump a run for his money, had embarked on a journey from the town centre of Dungannon to Cookstown to Magherafelt and finally to his hometown, Tobermore.

His new owner Nigel Fleming, a photographer from Dungannon, told BelfastLive: "I'd met Cooper a few days before in the hope he'd be good company for my Golden Retriever, Molly.

Cooper is now safe and sound.
Lost Paws NI

"But I was just about to get the dogs out of the car on their leads for their first walk together when Cooper bolted. He literally jumped over Molly, prized the car door open enough to get past me and ran for it.”

Nigel is happy Cooper is safe and sound and getting used to his new home.

The charity said on Thursday (27 April): “But mainly we would like to thank YOU for your messages, information, posters, support. You are the reason why we exist and why we keep going! A happy family and a happy dog tonight.”

Featured Image Credit: Nigel Fleming

Topics: Dogs, News