A dog lover whose missing pooch was re-homed with another family has made an emotional plea to the terrier’s new owners to let her see her again.
Eileen Jones has not seen Yorkshire Terrier Sophie since she escaped from her garden in the South Wales Valleys nine years ago.
The 59-year-old has been left heartbroken to discover that her beloved pet was found by the Dog’s Trust – but her microchip was not checked and she was re-homed with another family, who now call her Scruffy.
Eileen was so moved after Sophie disappeared on August 1, 2003, that she set up her own pet rehoming charity, Friends of the Animals RCT, and has helped give better lives to scores of animals.
She has funded the charity over the last nine years with jobs including working as a cleaner and for Marks and Spencer at Culverhouse Cross.
She also launched a free 24-hour lost and found helpline to offer hope to thousands of worried families.
She said: “Sophie had been a gift from a work colleague. I already had Tilley, a poodle, and I was delighted that she now had a friend.
“The girls often came to work with me and Sophie soon lived up to her reputation as being the naughtiest pup in the litter.
“She was such a character and everyone who met her couldn’t help but love her.
“She was an escapologist and on occasions managed to get out of my garden, run round to the front and wait on the doorstep – to her it was a big game.
“I reported her loss to chip company AVID, who logged it on their system, and hoped for the best.”
Eileen only discovered Sophie was still alive when she decided to give AVID a call three weeks ago.
And to her shock, she found out the mischievous terrier had been found and re-homed in 2006 by the Dogs Trust.
She claims dog rescuers scanned Sophie and found a chip, but failed to call the database and check the dog’s status.
“It was a complete shock to me,” she said.
“They should have called me as soon as they found her.
“I had done everything right by micro-chipping her, but I have been let down by the Dogs Trust and the database company.
“It just shows there are flaws in the system. I would urge everyone who has lost a micro-chipped pet to call up just in case.”
Despite years of looking after countless other pets, Sophie was never forgotten.
“I am pleased she is alive and well, but I need to see her with my own eyes,” she added
“I will ask the Dogs Trust to send a letter to the family on my behalf, and I hope they change their minds.”
A spokeswoman for Friends of the Animals RCT said: “The whole situation has been a shock for all involved and Eileen’s only wish is to meet up with the dog she has spent almost nine years searching for.
“Compulsory micro-chipping for dogs is under discussion and is something we believe in 100%, but the systems must be improved to ensure cases like this do not continue to occur.”
A spokeswoman for the Dogs Trust said: “Yorkshire Terrier Sophie was handed over to Dogs Trust Bridgend in 2005 by a gentleman, on behalf of his parents in law, who informed us that the family had acquired her as a stray.
“With regret, Dogs Trust can confirm that at the time when the handover took place, we were unable to identify the dog as being reported missing.
“We are in touch with Eileen Jones regarding this matter to extend our sincerest sympathies.
“We would like to stress that it is Dogs Trust policy to scan every dog that comes into any one of our 18 rehoming centres.”