Lost Dog Recovery: Pet missing for over six years found living in woods - but she still needs a happy ending

Rose had run wild in a Sussex woodland for years, and was known by neighbours as the local stray
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A dog missing for more than six years has been found alive and well living wild in the woods, but the prodigal pup's tale still needs a happy ending.

The black Patterdale terrier, called Rose, has been found and caught by Lost Dog Recovery UK South six-and-a-half years after running away from her family. The 12-year-old dog had been living in a Sussex woodland six miles from her original home, where she ate food left out for badgers and was known as the local stray.

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The rescue team started investigating after they received a call from a passerby who spotted her, and they organised a stake out of the area to uncover the truth. They used live hidden cameras to watch her behaviour, and to make a plan for getting her to safety without scaring her.

Rose had to be lured into a cage with chicken (Photo: Lost Dog Recovery UK South/ SWNS)Rose had to be lured into a cage with chicken (Photo: Lost Dog Recovery UK South/ SWNS)
Rose had to be lured into a cage with chicken (Photo: Lost Dog Recovery UK South/ SWNS)

Rescuer Nicki Scriven told SWNS that they spoke to several locals, and discovered that one of the neighbours had been feeding the pup for years. “She was their stray feral dog that they were feeding, and the main lady involved agreed that the dog needed to be caught. She felt very guilty for not doing anything before now.”

The next stage was to lure Rose into a metal cage with some chicken, so that they could bring her to safety. The team camped out in a nearby van watching the nail-biting camera footage with pizza in hand.

"It can be heart-stopping, especially with her because we knew she had been feral for so long so we weren't sure whether she would go into the trap straight away or whether it would take a couple of days," Ms Scriven said. "But it is rewarding for any dog whether it has been a day or six-and-a-half-years it is rewarding to get that dog safe."

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The team were shocked to discover on her recovery that Rose had a microchip from 2017, which showed she was 12-years-old. After a thorough search they found Rose's owners on Facebook and got to tell them the glorious news that she was still alive and well. But she said unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Rose's family were no longer able to take her back.

The runaway will now be going into a rescue centre, to eventually find a new home and live out the rest of her days in comfort. "It is upsetting but at the end of the day we need what is right for Rose, and she will need rehabilitating and reassessing before she could go back to a home anyway," Ms Scriven continued.

"It is sad that she hasn't got owners to go to, but she is still going to be okay," she said.

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