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Clovelly Pooch Makes Miraculous Return

By Daniel Hutton on May 9, 2014 in News

Picture: Daniel Hutton

Picture: Daniel Hutton

When Clovelly parents Tim and Bridget Pembroke’s pet Schnauzer Nellie went AWOL in February 2012, they thought they would they would get a call in a couple of hours as they had on numerous occasions in the past when she’d disappeared in similar circumstances.

When she still hadn’t surfaced after a few days they started to worry and called in the services of a pricey pet detective, who advertised widely but had no luck in finding the missing pooch. As time went on, Tim, Bridget and their children became resigned to the fact that Nellie had been dog-napped and they may never see her again.

“It was like losing a member of the family,” Tim told The Beast.

While this loss was devastating for the entire family, its impact on the Pembroke’s middle child William was by far the greatest. William suffers cognitive problems and he often found quiet comfort in the company of his dog.

“Everyone knew Nellie and everyone knew our little boy William, who was always taking Nellie to the park, so when she got stolen there was sort of mourning amongst the local dog community,” Tim said.

At the start of the year, Tim’s wife Bridget relocated to Vancouver for 18 months with their son William and daughter Alice to allow William to attend Eaton Arrowsmith, a brain retraining school, while Tim and his other son Lachlan remained in Sydney.

Despite the tyranny of distance, the Pembroke family was brought together once more when Bridget received an blunt email on March 3 reading: “Hi Bridget, your pet Nellie is at Adelaide Emergency Centre. Please contact them immediately. Thank you, Central Animal Records.”

“It’s a bit of a struggle separating the family so to actually have this occur and particularly when William is the reason they’re over there and he’s the one who really most loved Nellie, it’s been a wonderful thing for him to know that when he’s coming home next, he’s coming home to his dog,” Tim said.

How Nellie ended up in Adelaide is anyone’s guess, but Tim was quick to postulate.

“We had heard there had been a spate of dog-nappings, and I think she was probably taken for the money, and sold to someone in Adelaide who didn’t check (the microchip), but over the course of the last two years had cause to take her to the vet and found out she was someone else’s dog. They’ve probably got the guilts eventually because Nellie was handed in without any collar or identification at all to this rescue centre and she was in great condition. To me, anyone who had looked after her that well would have had a collar on her,” Tim said.

Tim broke the news of Nellie’s return to William and Alice over Skype and they were understandably overjoyed. The reaction of the local community of dog owners was equally rapturous.

“We started to let a few people know by email that she’d been found. She flew back from Adelaide on a Friday night and before I took her to the vets I took her down to Burrows Park at 7.30am on the Saturday morning and you would not believe the way all the owners just came rushing over to say, ‘Oh Nellie, we heard you’d been found’. It was an unbelievable feeling,” he said.

Nellie is now living under the foster care of Tim’s friends Harry and Lisa Kinahan and their children Fergus and George. The Kinahans also have a pet Schnauzer, a male dog named Floyd, who is thus far dealing well with sharing his owners’ affections.

And while Tim was obviously happy to have his hound back, he was quick to encourage other dog owners to microchip their pooches should they suffer a similar fate to Nellie.

“Without microchipping she’d still be in Adelaide, so if you haven’t done it already, make sure you microchip your dog now,” he said.