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by MIDWEEK. Tuesday April 25, 2006
25th April '06Two dog owners have been reunited with their long-lost pup — four years after he was stolen in a burglary.
Eight-year-old Alfie was found on the Marlow bypass and taken to the Stokenchurch Dog Rescue Centre — 100 miles from his former home in Tamworth, Staffordshire.
Staff got a phone number from the English Bull Terrier’s identity microchip then contacted his owners immediately and discovered they lived near Birmingham.
Nicola and Antony Barlow, 40 and 41, thought AJfie was lost for good after he was nabbed when their house was broken into in 2002. They were amazed to hear he had turned up in Bucks. “A phone call out of the blue after four years — it was unbelievable really,” said Antony.
The pair heard about the find at 10am on Easter Sunday and were in Stokenchurch by 1pm. “We jumped in the car and went straight down there. “Apart from losing a few pounds he was just like before — still the same little character.”
And it seems the Barlows haven’t changed too much either. “Alfie recognised my wife straight away. He started playing with us and the ball we brought down. It used to be his favourite game,” said Antony.
Now Alfie is getting used to life back home with his owners’ two new dogs Lil and Fred. "It’s as if he’s never been away. And he’s getting on fine with the others," Antony said.
The dog was in a good condition and happy enough when he was found, but Antony wonders where he’s been for the last four years.
Joyce Marriott, vice chairman of the High Wycombe Dog Rescue Society, which funds the centre, said no-one could say what had happened.
She said: “He’s obviously been homed somewhere for four years. But we don’t know how he got here. “Dogs are stolen for a variety of things including breeding for fighting, so he could have been used for that. We hope he hasn’t been through too much. “But this shows you must never give up hope —there can be a happy ending.”
MIDWEEK Bucks Free Press