Missing dog is found alive and well – but owners can't take her back
19th December 2023

Dog who ran away from home 6 years ago is found alive and well in the woods – but her owners can’t take care of her anymore

  • Rose, a black Patterdale terrier, 12, was found safe in the Sussex woodlands 
  • READ MORE: Watch as sobbing owner wades through river to be reunited with her missing sausage dog after trekking 60 miles in four days to find her after she disappeared in park

A dog who ran away from her owners after only spending 24 hours with them has been found alive and well in the woods six years later.

Rose, a 12-year-old black Patterdale terrier, was found in the Sussex woodlands by a rescue team, and had been sustained over the years by people who fed her, thinking she was a stray.

She was just six miles from her home when Rescue Team Lost Dog Recovery UK South located her – and they plotted an elaborate rescue plan to get her home.

Sadly, Rose’s owners are unable to care for a senior dog, meaning the adorable pooch will have to be rehomed. 

Rose, the black Patterdale terrier was found by a rescue team six-and-a-half years after running away from her family

Nicki Scriven, 41, has been working with the not-for-profit company for ten years and was involved in the rescue mission. 

She said: ‘It came to light that someone had been feeding her for what they said was ten years and turned out to be six-and-a-half.

‘She was their stray feral dog that they were feeding, and the main lady involved agreed that the dog needed to be caught.’

The team camped out in a nearby van watching the nail-biting camera footage with pizza in hand. They used live hidden cameras to watch her behaviour and planned how best to get her to safety.     

The dog, who had been eating food left out for badgers for years was then lured into a metal cage with some chicken, in the Sussex woodlands.

After scanning her microchip, the rescue team found Rose’s owners on Facebook and got to tell them the good news that she was still alive and well.

Sadly, due to a change in circumstance, Rose’s family won’t be able to take her back, so she will be going into rescue again.

The family only had Rose for 24 hours when she ran off and disappeared. Since then, they have moved away and are no longer in a position to care for a senior dog.

Rose, the 12-year-old dog survived all these years living in the woods, six miles away from her home, where she ate food left out for badgers and was known as the local stray

Nicki said: ‘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.

‘It is sad that she hasn’t got owners to go to but she is still going to be okay so it is okay’.

On a Facebook post the company wrote: ‘After the initial shock, our absolute joy at finding a long-lost dog is tinged with sadness as there is no “happy reunion” for Rose; she never got the chance to know the love of her family’. 

Nicki added: ‘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.

‘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. In my ten years working here we have had our fair share of dogs that haven’t made it home and it is heartbreaking and soul-destroying’.

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