Lady, a 12-year-old lost Chihuahua was reunited with her family after seven days of roaming out and about. The happy ending followed a major search involving spotters, feeding stations, CCTV, and even drones.

The Lost Chihuahua and Her Journey

A Dundee man is celebrating after his Chihuahua was found seven days after she went missing in Monifieth. Jonathan Lucas was on holiday in Turkey when his dog Lady took off from the Monifieth home of his pet-sitter.

The 12-year-old Chihuahua referred to lovingly as Lady, staged an unexpected great escape at Angus Court, where she was being taken care of.

The fenced-off garden in her dogsitter’s home, previously believed to be secure, had a tiny gap that went unnoticed. Lady managed to squeeze her small frame through this minor flaw in the fence and went out running.

Lady the lost Chihuahua
Lady the lost Chihuahua

Lady was being looked after by friend Ashley McLeod, who was devastated when the dog could not be located. This was despite a huge search effort spearheaded by the Missing Pets, Dundee, and Angus Facebook group.

However, on the day of the search, Raven – a specially trained search dog, and her handler were given one of Lady’s toys to familiarize the dog with the Chihuahua’s scent. This proved to be successful, and after a long and rigorous search, Raven was able to locate Lady.

“I would love to thank every person on the page. It feels as though Dundee and Monifieth came together for Lady. It makes me proud to call myself a Dundonian.”

Jonathan, on his town’s efforts for locating his lost Chihuahua

A Big Search for a Tiny Dog 

This captivating story is marked by an extensive and dynamic search operation. Involved in the effort were numerous dedicated spotters, a network of strategic feeding stations, continuous CCTV surveillance, and the innovative use of drones. 

Instrumental in the operation were Linda Quinn, team manager of the Facebook page, and Nicky Beaton, who manages its team of volunteers. Teams were set up around Dobbies, Premier Inn, Quarry Road, Grange Road, and the South Grange Care Home, where Lady had been spotted at the beginning of the week.

The special moment when Jonathan Lucas was reunited with his lost Chihuahua Lady
The special moment when Jonathan Lucas was reunited with his lost Chihuahua Lady

Ashley’s cousin Nico Donague, also a friend of Jonathan, finally spotted Lady on rocks in the quarry just before 7 a.m., after Raven was barking her way. Lady was weak and exhausted but the only damage was a minor scuff on her head.

“I went to the highest point and looked for her. The quarry was quite deep and how she got in that particular spot I don’t know. Today was probably the last day she could have been found – she was exhausted and there was no way she would have been able to get out where she was.”

Nico, on having spotted Lady in the quarry

A Big Search for a Tiny Dog 

This captivating story is marked by an extensive and dynamic search operation. Involved in the effort were numerous dedicated spotters, a network of strategic feeding stations, continuous CCTV surveillance, and the innovative use of drones. 

Instrumental in the operation were Linda Quinn, team manager of the Facebook page, and Nicky Beaton, who manages its team of volunteers. Teams were set up around Dobbies, Premier Inn, Quarry Road, Grange Road, and the South Grange Care Home, where Lady had been spotted at the beginning of the week.

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James Watt with his German Shepherd Raven
James Watt with his German Shepherd Raven

Raven – The Sweet Pup Hero of the Story 

Raven is owned by James Watt, who is part of Search Dogs for Lost DogsMembers of this group are professionally trained by former military handlers at the National Association of Security Dog Users (Nasdu). James says he has lost count of the number of times Raven has located lost dogs.

But, James notes that a lost Chihuahua being discovered alive after seven days was unusual. Smaller dog breeds like Chihuahuas are especially vulnerable due to their size. They are more susceptible to attacks from larger animals, and their small bodies are not as resilient to harsh weather conditions. 

Also, since Chihuahuas are not known for their survival skills in the wild, they can easily get lost due to their poor sense of direction. Lastly, their petite structure makes it difficult for them to source food or escape from danger. So, Lady’s survival and reunion with her family is nothing short of a miracle.

The Much-Anticipated Reunion

Jonathan flew to Antalya with his husband Dylan and adopted daughter Melody, 6, on July 29. The make-up artist was told of Lady’s disappearance midway through the two-week break.

“I never wanted to upset our daughter so tried to keep it to myself. But I got upset and couldn’t stop crying, so I had to tell her in the end.”

Jonathan

His instinct was to return home early, but the cheapest flights he could find were £1,500 for a pair of tickets two days before he was due to return on Sunday. So, he had little choice but to sit it out. 

Jonathan's daughter holding Lady the Chihuahua
Jonathan’s daughter holding Lady the Chihuahua

As if that wasn’t enough, returning home to his beloved Chihuahua Lady was not an easy journey either. The first hurdle he faced was a bout of late-holiday food poisoning. Jonathan was in discomfort, battling nausea, fatigue, and dehydration, all while trying to get back home to Lady.

Jonathan’s flight back to Scotland was also delayed multiple times. He had to spend long hours at the airport, feeling unwell and anxious, with the added worry about Lady’s wellbeing. Finally, after overcoming these hurdles, Jonathan touched down in Scotland at 5 a.m. on Sunday, his heart filled with anticipation and relief.

“Ashley is amazing and has looked after Lady many times before. It is not her fault at all – it’s just one of those things that happen.”

Jonathan, on how he still trusts his friend Ashley for looking after the pup

Jonathan collected Lady from Tay Vets. He was told she was very weak but had suffered no lasting harm.

“The second she saw me her tail started wagging. We went straight to Aldi and I got her some steak, chicken, beef burgers, hot dogs – everything she wants. I’m also booking her in for the best shampoo at a salon this week.”

Jonathan, when being reunited with his lost Chihuahua

Simple Tools to Prevent Lost Chihuahuas

Jonathan is planning on buying AirTags and a dog AirTag collar to save him from the stress and heartache of losing Lady again.

These compact devices, which can be attached to your pet’s collar, provide real-time tracking that can locate your pet within a matter of minutes.

Furthermore, it is crucial to consider microchipping your pups. This simple procedure involves implanting a tiny chip beneath your pet’s skin, which is a permanent means of electronic identification. Lost dogs with microchips are significantly more likely to be reunited with their owners, proving the effectiveness of this technology. 

Lady, after being reunited with her family
Lady, after being reunited with her family

Reuniting with a Lost Chihuahua: Hopeful?

In the United States, nearly 10 million pets go missing every year, according to the American Humane Association. The sad reality, however, is that not all of these lost companions are as fortunate as Lady to be found and returned to their homes.

The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy estimates that only 15-20% of lost dogs are ever found. This makes Lady’s story all the more extraordinary and significant. Stories like Lady’s are not entirely unheard of, though.

There have been several remarkable instances where pets have been found and returned home after being lost for incredibly long periods. We’ve had the joy of reporting similar cases like the senior Chihuahua Delilah who got lost in Vancouver, Mr. Cutie’s reunion with her veteran owner, and Jazzy the Chi who got reunited with her family who believed her to be dead.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know the panic and heartbreak that quickly sets in. But don’t lose hope, because while it’s rare, miracles can indeed happen. Keep an eye out, ask around, and don’t give up. Your Lady might just come back!

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