Are you ready to have your heart broken? Then settle in and allow me to tell you about Cooper, the Golden Retriever who walked 40 miles back to the home of the family who had given him up for adoption.
Our adventure starts exactly a month ago, after Cooper had been taken in by a new family ready to shower him with love, like every good boy deserves.
His new owner, Nigel, thought the dog would be a good companion for his pet Molly, and was about to set off on his first walk with Cooper on 1 April when the dog ran away.
The family called in the help of charity Lost Paws NI, which set up feeding stations and spoke to locals. They learned the dog had been seen by some farmers, but after a while the trail went cold.
It wasn’t until three weeks later that the organisation got another tip about the dog, and for the next few days they followed his journey through leads called in by the public.
After setting off from his home, the pooch travelled from the town centre of Dungannon, through Cookstown and Magherafelt and all the way to Tobermore, where he used to live.
Lost Paws NI calculated that Cooper must have walked over 40 miles all by himself to make it to his former home.
In a post on Facebook last week, the charity explained: “Today we received a call from a member of the public stating that he recognised Cooper from our posts and that he seen him running towards his old property… and was certain it was him.”
The organisation received a photo showing Cooper looking dishevelled but alive, after crossing ‘main A roads, forests, fields [and] country roads’ over the course of 27 days.
Another update was posted after Cooper had ‘some time to decompress’, explaining that he has since been ‘settling in well to his new home life with his sister and is enjoying some home comforts’.
“We visited him several days ago when he was caught and he was cuddled up by the fire comfortable, and loved,” the organization added.
Lost Paws NI assured Nigel is ‘one of the most dedicated owners [they’ve] had the pleasure of meeting’, adding that he ‘never stopped fighting’ when his new pup went missing.
It’s unclear why Cooper was given up in the first place, but Lost Paws NI noted that his story is one about ‘positivity, perseverance, loyalty, battling for what you want in life and never giving up’.