Looking for Lily

Welcome to my blog and thank you for coming along for a nose.

This is all brand new and shiny to me this blogging malarkey so please be kind! I decided to start a blog after spending an obscene amount of time on one of my Facebook Groups which was originally set up for my missing dog Lily. She was missing for 22 months and her page grew and grew and I made many friends because of it. Now she’s home safe and well and her page is still going and topics of conversations are varied, from serious to a bit of fun. Facebook has its limits and it hard to keep track of posts and useful information we share so here we are in Blog land.

This is my first post and I’d like to share the story of Lily – I hope it doesn’t bore you to tears as it’s a long one (and apologies to those who know it already, I give you permission to skip it lol)

Lily went missing from the back garden on 25th June 2010 at 4:16pm, one minute she was watching me through the window as I was gardening out the front, I went inside to get her to go to the garden centre and she was gone. All my family including me searched the area endlessly, knocking on doors, stopping people in the street but nothing. It was as if she had vanished into thin air.

I contacted all local dog wardens, vets, rescue centres, kennels…the list goes on and on. I then found Doglost.co.uk and they were a Godsend, her details went straight online and a poster was created but most importantly they gave me amazing advice and support. I spent the next 3 months postered all around the area and wherever I happened to be. But month after month there was never any news, there were a couple of emails trying to say they had her but when questioned they never replied, we even had people ringing to ask if we wanted to buy a dog as they saw we had lost ours. Lots of people rang to offer support and some to say they had seen adverts online, none of which turned out to be Lily. Every month I placed ads online and spent hours trawling through dogs for sale ads with no luck, we even visited local traveller sites, all to no avail.

As time passed I replaced old faded posters with new ones and carried on ringing around and also started her Facebook page trying to spread the word. It took over my whole life and most of my family thought I was crazy for still looking but I never gave up – I couldn’t with my 2 children asking me when Lily would come home.

About 18 months after she went I put together an appeal video to try to refresh memories and spread the word. The video was painful to make, watching back such lovely memories but I had to do it as it was the only thing I hadn’t yet tried http://youtu.be/Ce0dVmVL0dkAgain (update 2013 sadly the appeal video was accidently deleted) Nothing came of it except overwhelming support, people were sharing the video all over the internet and I got loads of fantastic emails offering support.

Then on Tuesday 17th April 2012 at around 5.30pm my husband took a call from the dog warden for Hammersmith and Fulham Council saying Lily had been found by workmen on a building site (which is roughly 30 miles from us) and our details were on the chip, they left a number and said call in the morning and you can come and pick her up. My husband came straight to our allotment where I was with the kids to tell me. Oh my Goodness! I must have shouted ‘They’ve found Lily?!!’ about a hundred times and burst into tears.

I went home and tried getting through to the out of hours office to see if I could pick her up immediately, sadly there was no answer from any of the numbers I found so just had to sit tight until the morning. I went onto Lily’s Facebook page and told everyone the amazing news and everyone was so excited! We told the kids and they were delighted. I hardly slept that night and waiting for 8.30 so I could ring the offices was so painful. Finally 8.30 came and I rang straight away.

What followed was wrong numbers, I don’t knows, and one woman even laughed at me as I tried to explain how important it was I speak to the correct person. I had to hang up in the end as I was so upset, I couldn’t even speak without bursting into tears. My husband took over the telephone calls and we were horrified to learn the council wouldn’t let us take her because they were worried her ‘owners’ would come forward, we would have to wait  7 days until we could have her. I have never been so upset, I couldn’t believe it, after 22 months of searching and I wasn’t even allowed to see her!

The council said she was at Windsor branch of Battersea so we rang them to see if they really had her and to see if she was ok. They said they had a Cavalier but kept putting us off when we wanted to know more. So we jumped in the car and drove the hour journey to get there, just hoping we could see her. On the way the council rang and warned us they had spoken to a lawyer and we were not to go to Battersea or they would move her. By this time we were almost there so decided to go ahead, I was hoping the staff would at least let me see her.

When we arrived they had obviously been told we were coming and a security guard was waiting in reception. A lady from Battersea was sent for to come and speak to us. I explained how long I’d been looking for her and how we were the rightful owners but they insisted the other ‘owner’ (who hadn’t even come forward or reported a missing dog yet!) had more right to her than us and they obviously loved her as she had come in groomed and well looked after, never mind the fact she was taken from our garden and I had searched everyday for her. I couldn’t believe it, surely that was the whole point of microchipping!? I asked if I could at least see her and she said no, to which I just completely broke down in tears, I just couldn’t believe we were being treated like we had done something wrong. The lady at Battersea even said she couldn’t find Lily on Doglost and accused me of only reported her missing last year, I explained that was the chip companies mistake and she was in fact reported immediately but as the offices were shut it didn’t show until a couple of days later. Whoever took the call had only written it in the comments and not flagged her as missing, which was rectified when I rang to check her details again at a later date, I was livid and they apologised and said it was because the company had changed hands, they made a note of my call and their mistake but never passed this on to Battersea.

It was awful sitting there being accused of not even trying to find her when I had done so every single day. They said she had been moved to another kennel now and they wouldn’t tell us where. I felt like a criminal. Devastated we headed home and had to tell the kids, they thought they were going to see her the minute they got home from school, telling them they couldn’t was heart breaking!

The next morning we rang the council straight away again and still no one had come forward for Lily yet they weren’t prepared to change their stance and we would have to wait. Then came another call from the council saying someone had called regarding a missing black and tan Cavalier and were upset she had gone missing. I was just a complete and utter mess, I had to cancel my work, I couldn’t eat and couldn’t even talk to anyone on the phone as I was such a state. I managed to get myself together and made calls thinking we’d have a court battle on our hands, just as I finished getting advice from a lawyer my husband called. The council had just rung him and said we could go and get Lily right now, the other ‘owner’ had come forward but when proof of ownership had been asked for and they were told it was also a police matter they didn’t want to contend ownership.

On the drive to the kennels to collect her I was so worried they’d change their minds or it wouldn’t be her, I can’t even really remember the drive. But I got there and the owner was amazing, he couldn’t believe how we’d been treated and off he went to get Lily. As she came round the corner I burst into tears, my little Lily was finally back with me after 22 months! She went crazy and I was covered in kisses! I had remembered my camcorder and the whole thing was filmed. I got home and surprised the kids with her homecoming and filmed everything, their little faces was just the best thing on the world and Lily was so pleased to see them.

I put the video on her Facebook page and everyone loved it and has had thousands and thousands of hits , sadly the original video was accidently deleted along with the massive viewings, luckily I still had a copy which I recently uploaded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Resg3fnDvLw

We were also filmed for ITV which went out on Meridian and London Today/Tonight. A short clip was shown on ‘This Morning’ and a lot of local newspapers reported our happy news. We were also invited to The London Pet Show by Dogs Today magazine and they wrote a great article about microchipping and Lily’s story in their July issue.

I really cannot thank all her supporters enough, they got me through it all. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Doglost and an amazing police officer and an amazing dog warden who has helped me look for Lily from the beginning. I can’t even describe how happy I am to finally have her home and also so terrified every time she goes in the garden, thankfully the amazing people at Retrieva have given Lily a GPS collar free of charge!

So there you are the whole story, if you survived to the end – well done and I promise not to waffle on for so long again!

A change in the law regarding microchipping needs to be made especially as the chip doesn’t even prove ownership. Bruce Forsyth’s Campaign Vetsgetscanning.co.uk run by his daughter Debbie Matthews have a petition for people to sign to get every vet to scan every dog that comes in, whether they know the owners or not. Debbie Matthews has been a real support to us whilst looking for Lily x



18 thoughts on “Looking for Lily

  1. that is a lovely start to your blog Lorraine, well done, and i look forward to reading all about lilys life back home with her new adopted sisters xxx

  2. I dont think I will ever get through this story without tears. I remember you psoting on the cavalier forum about her being stolen/lost. and sitting biting my nails with a numb butt waiting for the moment you got her back. That was a nailbiting day. Im so happy it all ended happily for all. Just goes to show never give up!! Hugs for the little lady x

  3. Wow, what an amazing story! I would have been heartbroken too, and especially when you were treated so appallingly. There doesn’t seem much point in micro-chipping if an owner can’t claim their pet back…! I’m a massive dog, have 4 border collies, all working dogs, and I’d have many more if I could.

    CJ x

    • Thanks CJ, yes the law regarding microchipping needs a complete over haul! But I cannot say its not worth having it done….thats how we found Lily after all 🙂
      I love collies – very clever dogs, you must have your hands full with 4! I just have 3 dogs 🙂

  4. Bloody hell! I got so SO angry reading this post at how you were treated – had no idea things like that could happen. I have two dogs and have posted on my blog about them – I can’t imagine what an awful time it must have been for you. I am also now in tears having watched the video so off to pur myself a BIG glass of vino and cuddle my fur babies x

    • Sad thing is I was the lucky one – I’ve heard loads of stories about dogs being rehomed because the chip companies have made mistakes, there needs to be a change in the law and quickly. http://www.vetsgetscanning.co.uk are trying to campaign for this and have a petition to sign. Thanks for your comment and give your dogs a squeeze from me 😉

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