A long lost dog has been remarkably reunited with its owner – six-and-a-half years after it went missing.
Shocked businessman Nigel Round, 44, and his wife Vicky, 33, could not believe it when Ruby, their Jack Russell, suddenly turned up again out of the blue.
They thought they had seen the last of the beloved pet they had got as a puppy.
The dog reappeared at Rivington – found wandering alone by a couple from Wigan.
Nigel said: “It was a Sunday. She just disappeared from the front of our house, which is a bit of a semi-rural place. One minute she was there, the next she was gone.
“We didn’t think anything of it.”
But as the days passed, the family decided to launch a Facebook and poster campaign in an effort to find Ruby.
Vicky’s grandmother even put up a £1,000 reward for Ruby’s return.
“She was chipped, so we thought there was a good chance of somebody finding her and bringing her back to us,” said Nigel, of Grundy’s Lane, Duxbury.
Time wore on and Nigel, who runs an entertainment agency on Railway Road, Adlington, said; “We just realised she wasn’t going to come back – either she’d gone down a hole and got trapped or somebody had took her and kept her.
“You move on with life and just carry on. You don’t forget but carry on living. We had no sightings, nothing at all.
“I wanted a dog more or less straight away. My wife was hanging on, but I said at some point, she’s not coming back. At the same time we did have a conversation about, would we be happy having two dogs? We got another dog, I think, within about six months.”
Nigel continued: “Then I got a phone call from Harvey’s Army volunteer dog centre based in Astley near Wigan. They had a chip machine so they can read the information.
“There was two couples walking up at Rivington and the dog was roaming around with no collar on the road. They managed to get hold of her.
“What we did find out when we were trying to find her initially is a lot of these places, police and vets, don’t have these chip reading machine.”
Nigel said he was having “a couple of beers” and watching Match of the Day one Saturday night when unbelievably the phone rang.
“I had just been looking at a photograph of her and wondered, ‘what are you doing right now?’ and the phone rang and a woman said, ‘have you lost your dog?
“I said, ‘are you having a laugh, are you joking’?
“I thought, I’m only going to believe this when I see it. My wife went bonkers, she was hysterical. They met us at the White Crow on the car park there at eleven that night. We couldn’t wait.
“I knew straight away, she was my dog.”
Ruby was taken for a check up to the vets who said they thought Ruby, now aged eight, had had a couple of litters while she had been missing.
Nigel thinks somebody may have taken her to breed from and then let her go.
But it seems Ruby, who has met celebrities such as Corrie stars Sam Aston and Hayley Tamaddon through Nigel’s work, has settled back into her previous lifestyle.
“She does the things she did before,” said Nigel. “She had a position on the back of the chair where she used to sit and look through the window. She’s reverted back to that. She remembers.”
Ruby is also getting on well with Lottie, the six-year-old Jack Russell the Rounds got after she disappeared.
Children Hayley, 23 and Jamie, 19, remember Ruby, but Heidi, six and Teddy, 18 months are too young.
“It’s all just a bit unbelievable, really,” said Nigel.