An animal warden who helped reunite a stolen dog and its owner after 10 years apart said it was “the longest I’ve known a dog to be separated from its owners”.
Ollie, a 12-year-old male Chihuahua, was stolen while on a walk in Beckenham, south east London, in August 2012.
He was walking with his owner, Tae Bennet, who was 12 years old at the time. Police and charity DogLost were told about the theft but the pet was nowhere to be seen.
Ten years on, the appearance of a stray dog in the Hounslow Heath area was brought to the attention of Andy Newnham, animal warden with Hounslow Council, west London.
Just days later Ollie and Ms Bennet were reunited on March 27 thanks to a microchip.
“It’s a remarkable case, the longest I’ve known a dog to be separated from its owners,” said Mr Newnham.
Ms Bennet said: “It was crazy. I’d just woken up from a nap and burst into tears when I found out.
“It was a horrible thing to happen to me at that age and it was traumatic, but this is a happy ending and we’re all spoiling him rotten.”
Karen Harding, part of the police liaison team with DogLost, said: “We remember when the incident first happened as the dog was snatched from Tae’s hands, so it’s amazing that they’ve been reunited.
“Since the beginning of 2021, over 11,000 dogs have been listed as stolen or missing on our database – with around half of those having been reunited with their owners.
“However, these are the stories that we want to tell; we also urge owners to chip their dogs and keep their details up to date.
“In some cases, as with Ollie, a dog’s appearance changes so much that they wouldn’t be recognised, highlighting the importance of getting a dog microchipped.”