Family reunited with missing spaniel after six years

Ferrier family Image copyright Jodie Ferrier
Image caption The Ferrier family - (from left to right) Abbie, Ethan, Jodie, Thomas and Rowan - were reunited with Fern on Wednesday

A family have been reunited with their pet dog - six years after she was suspected to have been stolen.

On 28 April 2013, sprocker spaniel Fern went missing from her owner's driveway in Chessington, Kingston-upon-Thames.

Fast forward 2,272 days and the Ferrier family have got their beloved dog back, after she was handed in to a vet near Reading.

A microchip implanted in Fern, now seven, enabled her to be returned to her owners.

Receiving a phone call while cooking for her three children - two of whom weren't born when 13-month-old Fern went missing - Jodie Ferrier said she could not believe what the vet was saying.

"I said to them 'it cannot be - are you sure?'" she told the BBC.

Image copyright Jodie Ferrier
Image caption Jodie Ferrier said she never gave up in finding her lost puppy

The family jumped in the car and headed for the ferry from their current home on the Isle of Wight.

Arriving at Twyford Veterinary Practice hours later, the family's wait to see Fern was finally over.

"From the second the door opened I knew it was her," Mrs Ferrier said.

The mother of three said Fern - a cross between a cocker and a springer spaniel - had "probably had more than one litter" during her six years away.

When Fern vanished from the family's driveway as she played with their three other dogs, police told the Ferriers there had been a spate of dog thefts in the area.

The black spaniel, who boasts a white stripe down her chest, was taken to the veterinary practice on Wednesday after being found at the side of the road in Bracknell.

Image copyright Ferrier Family
Image caption The Ferrier family issued a £2,000 reward to find Fern when she went missing in April 2013

Mrs Ferrier said her eight-year-old son Ethan "burst into tears that his dog was coming home".

"There were times where you think, 'is this a lost cause?' as the years go by," she added.

"People tried to kindly say to me, 'you just need to stop hoping, you need to stop sharing on Facebook'.

"We have just always said we won't, we never will, and there you go - here's my little miracle."

Mrs Ferrier said Fern's return was "proof of the power of a microchip".

She added: "I religiously updated my details on that chip and checked several times a year it was up to date.

"That tiny bit of technology - if you use it right, it works."

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