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Cookie the stolen cockapoo reunited with owner after escaping from East Boldre home

A WOMAN who was reunited with her stolen dog weeks after he went missing has thanked the New Forest community for their “huge generosity and kindness” in helping track him down.

Lysbeth Fox was losing hope of ever seeing her beloved cockapoo Cookie again after he escaped from her parents’ East Boldre home, and six weeks on had still not been seen.

Lysbeth and Amelie Fox with Cookie
Lysbeth and Amelie Fox with Cookie

Against all the odds, though, Lysbeth received a call from a man in Southampton saying he had Cookie after buying him in a children’s play park.

The ordeal began on 12th August when five-year-old Cookie was staying with John and Sally Fox while their daughter was on business in Los Angeles.

“He goes there every summer so he knows the area well,” said Lysbeth (50), who lives in London. “He managed to get out of the house through the conservatory door – I think he’d probably spotted a cat.

Cookie the cockapoo was stolen after escaping in East Boldre
Cookie the cockapoo was stolen after escaping in East Boldre

“After my parents had tried to find him and couldn’t, their cleaner Kat Steenkamp set up a Facebook group in an effort to find him. So many people then began to get involved, giving up their time to make and put up posters, setting up feeding stations in the Forest, sharing the page on other sites.

“We had people from Manchester and even Canada getting in touch – people were just so invested, and the response was mindblowing.

“But after six weeks with no news of Cookie I had given up hope of finding him; it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But however tough it got, thanks to all those who were such an incredible support to us I knew that 99% of people were good.”

Cookie was bought from a woman in a playpark
Cookie was bought from a woman in a playpark

Just when Lysbeth was thinking of abandoning her search, she received a phone call from a man saying he had bought a dog he believed to be Cookie from a play park in Thornhill, Southampton, three weeks before.

“He said a dog that appeared to belong to a woman with a child was playing with his own children,” said Lysbeth. “He said he offered this woman £300 for the dog, and that she had accepted.

“His sister had then come round, he said, and told him the dog looked a lot like the photo of Cookie on Facebook. He contacted me and I asked him to take the dog to a local vet – Cookie is microchipped and if it was him I’d receive an alert.

“Lo and behold I got the alert – my legs went to jelly. I drove with my daughter, Amelie, to Vets Now in Bitterne to pick him up, and he was ecstatic.

“He leapt onto us, he was shaking – you couldn’t have peeled him off, it was like Velcro.

Lysbeth continued: “I never thought Cookie would be stolen in the New Forest – in London yes, you can’t tie your dog up outside a shop and expect them to be there when you come back out, but not there.

“Losing him in the way we did, and not knowing what had happened to him or if he was still alive, has had a devastating impact on my family and I.

“When somebody takes a dog, they don’t consider the wider repercussions. My parents had ill health, I was completely heartbroken.

“It’s not like stealing a watch – you can’t just get another made.”

Lysbeth now wants to thank the New Forest community for their “huge generosity and kindness”.

“Had they not been so invested in getting him back he wouldn’t be with us today,” she said.

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