When a lost dog was found wet and disheveled last month, no one would have guessed that his real home was on the other side of the Irish Sea.
Aran, an elderly black-and-white collie, was discovered wandering around the Carrick-on-Shannon area in Ireland on September 20, reports The Leitrim Observer. He had fallen into the river, but managed to climb his way out, despite having stiff back legs. The unnamed man who discovered him took Aran to the Animal Welfare Centre in Leitrim.
Andrea Sharp, the manger of the center, checked to see if Aran was microchipped.
"Normally we go through FIDO, a registration base for microchipped dogs, and at that point they give us a phone number, and if that rings dead then the search is no more. But in this case they gave me three numbers and one did ring out," Sharp told thejournal.ie
According to the Leitrim Animal Welfare Center Facebook page, the chip was registered to a name and address in Wales. When Sharp called the number, however, the homeowners said that they didn't have a dog.
But Sharp was unwilling to give up the search for Aran's owners. She wrote the family in Wales a letter asking for more information.
“I don’t know what it was. I just felt like I just had to write anyway,” she said.
It turns out that the residents had just moved into the house and provided a forwarding address for the old owners.
When Leitram Animal Welfare Center got in touch with the previous owners, Di and Albie Roberts, who had since moved to Scotland, they were amazed that Aran had been found. The couple immediately caught the first ferry to Ireland, drove throughout the night and arrived to collect Aran. The dog had been missing for 10 days.
"It was an emotional moment," said Sharp. “They were completely and utterly delighted.”
The Roberts had been on holiday in Carrick-On-Shannon with the intention of spending 10 days relaxing, cruising and fishing on the River Shannon, and they brought their 15-year-old collie with them. One day, while they were getting aboard a boat, they took their eyes off the dog for a few minutes – and he disappeared.
Despite searching for hours, and even calling a diver in to check the river, there was no sign of him. The heartbroken couple cut their holiday short and went home -- devastated without Aran.
Aran was able to spend two weeks with his loving owners before he died of liver failure in their arms.
But the story doesn't end there.
Just before he died, the Roberts rescued a companion for him, another collie called Ellie, from a Dogs Trust center in Glasgow. In an amazing twist of fate, the Roberts and Sharp realized that Ellie had originally come from the Leitrim Animal Welfare Center!
"It was such a twist of fate that then it just added to it even more. It felt even more incredible. It’s really lifted everybody here," Sharp said.
“When you think of the chain of events to reunite Aran with his owners any link could have broken and they would never have him back to spend his last days at home with those he loved and who loved him dearly,” she added.