Carole Fossett, 59, from Skegness explains how her homesick hound took the long way home...
Staring down at the scrum of Border collies, I was torn.
‘The chubbiest one!’ I announced.
Cheeky Casey was 8 weeks old, and always stealing food.
‘He’s perfect,’ I smiled, in April 2010.
My partner Michael, 80, and I had just lost our Border collie dog Sammy, then 15.
Though we still had our Doberman Indie, 4, it didn’t feel right with just one dog.
Luckily, Casey and Indie soon became firm friends.
But, a year on, Indie died.
Casey wasn’t pining for long, though… Soon after, we got Pomeranian Chihuahua-cross pups Mimi and Fifi.
Casey was like a doting big brother. They’d all charge around in the fields near our house.
But, last October, we had to sell our place to be closer to town for our jobs.
We had nowhere to go, so my dad Frank, 86, who lived 10 minutes away, agreed we could live with him until we found a new place.
I thought three hounds would be too much for him, though, and looked for help with Casey elsewhere.
Thankfully, my friend Megan, on the other side of town, agreed to take Casey in temporarily while the little ones stayed at Dad’s.
She had two Border collies of her own.
‘Casey will fit right in!’ I said.
Except, when Megan came to collect our brood, Casey was wary.
‘Don’t worry, pet, it’s not for long,’ I said.
He took me at my word!
Just a couple of hours later, I got a call…
‘Casey’s gone!’ Megan cried.
‘He ran away, jumped over a fence.’
I rushed over with his favourite toys, called his name for hours.
‘We have to find him,’ I cried to Michael.
Desperate, I created a Facebook page, where people reported sightings.
Casey was spotted at an old airfield, running through fields…
Worried a farmer might assume Casey was pestering sheep, we raced to every sighting.
But we couldn’t catch our Houdini hound.
By November, there’d been no sightings for two weeks.
Where was Casey?
It was freezing, the nights starting to get dark earlier.
My heart broke as I began to accept the worst.
Then, three months on, on 21 December, I was on my break at work as a shop assistant when my phone rang.
No caller ID.
I didn’t answer, but then it rang again…
‘Are you missing a dog?’ a woman asked.
‘You found Casey?’ I blurted, thrilled.
‘He’s here… in Newark!’ she said to me.
‘That’s 60 miles away!’ I gasped.
Our missing boy had been found in a supermarket car park. He was emaciated, filthy, his fur all matted.
But he still had his collar on, plus he was microchipped.
Thankfully, someone had called the dog pound, and they’d taken in our wandering critter.
‘I’m on my way!’ I said, collecting Michael en route, and picking up Casey’s lead.
On the way, I updated his Facebook page, telling everyone that we’d found him.
The messages we got on the page were so touching.
When we arrived at the pound, poor Casey looked ruff!
By then, he’d been missing for three whole months.
Would he even remember us?
‘Casey!’ I called to him nervously.
Immediately, his ears pricked up and he bounded over!
He cried, yelped, jumped all over us.
On the journey home, he just wanted his belly rubbed.
Now, Casey’s back to full health after the vet put him on a special diet.
We still don’t know exactly what happened to him, but we thought he was doggone for good.
I’m just so very glad we got our furry-tail ending!