A determined Labrador retriever recently escaped his new owner and walked nearly 40 miles to his original home after an almost month-long journey across Ireland.
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Cooper, a retriever, was missing for 27 days and walked north from Dungannon to Tobermore back home.
After being surrendered to the dog pound by his family, Belfast Live reported Cooper’s days in kennels came to an end when he was rehomed to live with a new owner.
Charity Lost Paws Northern Ireland reported Cooper’s ‘instinct’ guided him home and he made the trek through woods and main roads at night without help from humans.
“Cooper has been found and now home to the relief of his owners…Well done to all concerned,” a Facebook post on Lost Paws NI reads.
The dog’s new owner Nigel Fleming, a photographer from Dungannon, told the outlet he was in disbelief Cooper returned home after vanishing in early April.
Fleming, the outlet reported, adopted the dog from a local kennel to be ‘good company’ for his golden retriever Molly.
“It was a disaster. The poor boy had no idea where he was and he was in the wind. I tried to chase after him but he was gone in an instant – so then the search was on,” he said.
‘Elated to see’
A statement by the Lost Paws reads, “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.”
Fleming told the outlet Cooper was home safe and is eating small meals to gain weight he lost during his journey home.
“Even when he was missing, my faith in humanity was restored thanks to the incredible help I was offered, and today with him here by my side and with Molly, I don’t really have the words to explain the gratitude I feel.”
‘A clever boy’
“Cooper is a clever boy. Instinct took him back to a place he was familiar with. How he did it, I’ll never know but he managed it,” A Lost Paws NI spokesman told the outlet.
The dog, it appears, relied on his nose to guide himself to the place he originally thought of as his home. He took the remarkable journey from Dungannon to Cookstown to Magherafelt and finally to Tobermore, with no known human assistance and without being given any meal.
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Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.