Dog returns home after 22 months

He may be smaller than screen hero Lassie, but a Jack Russell from Aylsham must surely be in the running to star in his own adventure movie.

He may be smaller than screen hero Lassie, but a Jack Russell from Aylsham must surely be in the running to star in his own adventure movie.

After 22 months on the run, seven-year-old Oscar has finally leapt back into the arms of his loving owners who had feared they would never see him again.

The plucky pooch had not been seen since October 29, 2005 when, at the tender age of five, he made a break for it as his owner Angela Costello returned home from holiday.

But the fugitive was picked up by dog wardens in Loddon on Saturday and is now back with his family. Oscar's owners were traced after workers at the Meadow Green Rescue Centre, where he was taken after being picked up, found an identity microchip under the skin on his neck.

Speaking from her home in Hungate Street, Aylsham, Ms Costello said: “He went missing after I came back from holiday. My dad had been looking after him but he was so excited to see me that he bombed out the door and just carried on going. I don't know whether he saw a cat or something.”

The whole family, including Ms Costello's two children, Tom, now 14, and Tonicha, now 10, were distraught by his disappearance. They handed out thousands of leaflets asking if anyone had seen him and notified him as missing on www.doglost.co.uk.

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They had almost given up hope of ever seeing Oscar again and eight months after he disappeared, bought a new dachshund-cross called Charlie.

But on Sunday night, Ms Costello got a call out of the blue. “The rescue home rang and said they had my dog,” she said. “I was looking at Charlie and thought that it could not be my dog. Then I realised. I was completely amazed and we are all so pleased. He is part of the family and when I rang my mum to tell her he was coming home, she cried.”

And Oscar certainly enjoyed a momentous homecoming. Not only was he brought home sporting a new collar and lead, chosen specially by Tom and Tonicha, but he finally got to open the Christmas presents that had been waiting for him for nearly two years.

“I had wrapped the presents up for him before he disappeared and I did not have the heart to throw them away,” said Ms Costello.

Although Oscar's adventures over the past months remain a mystery, Ms Costello is certain that he has been looked after by someone because he is a picture of health.

And it is unlikely that the intrepid hound will be able to go on the run again as the family say they will keep a very close eye on him.

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