Loyal dog Dou Dou was left at a service station and walked 37 miles over 26 days to find his way home.
On September 26th, seven-year-old pet Dou Dou was left at Tong Lu service station after his owners made a quick stop on their way home from a family vacation.
The family had been visiting relatives in the countryside, and were travelling back to their home in the Eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
The dog’s owner, who wished to be known as Mr Qui, said that Dou Dou had been in the back of the car and that the family had assumed it remained there during their short break. He said they didn’t notice the dog leave the car as they had been preoccupied with looking after their small child.
It wasn’t until the family got back that they realised they had accidentally left the dog at the service station, which was 37 miles (60 Kilometres) away from their home.
Immediately, they drove back to the service station and spent two hours looking for their pet. But it was nowhere to be seen. “We’re holding out a little bit of hope that it won’t go far, that it’s still hanging around in a service area. There’s always a hope of finding him” said Mr Qui in an interview with Qianjiang Evening News.
Over the next few days, they returned to the service station and the surrounding areas in the hopes that they would find Dou Dou. But the dog was nowhere to be seen.
The family were sad, but nobody was more devastated than Mr Qui’s father-in-law, Lao Yuan. He was reportedly extremely close to Dou Dou, so much so that the dog followed him everywhere he went.
As the days went by, the family began to give up on ever getting their pet back. “[We] hoped it would survive and find a good-hearted person who would adopt him”, said Mr Qui.
But then, on October 22nd, 26 days since they had last seen their beloved pet, the family suddenly spotted a scruffy, skinny, stray dog sitting on their doorstep.
They were shocked and stunned to realize that this tired, gaunt-looking canine was, in fact, their lost dog Dou Dou. The family immediately brought the dog inside. Despite it being unrecognisable, they had no doubt that this was their precious pet.
Mr Qui said “say it and you don’t believe it. My Dog has been missing for more than 20 days and has come back on his own”.
They were so pleased and excited to have their dog back that they rushed to give it food and a nice warm bath, “Apart from being thinner than before He is the same as he used to be, with light in his eyes,” Mr Qui said.
It seemed unbelievable that Dou Do, completely alone, had navigated his way along motorways, dodging bustling traffic, over the span of 26 days, to get back home. Even animal experts were impressed with the ordeal. Hangzhou United dog trainer said “we are still trying to understand dogs’ many behaviours. But Dou Dou was able to find his way home from even so far away. He has exceptional talents.”
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But despite Dou Dou having this incredible instinct, it has been advised by professionals that people continue to keep a close watch on their pets when travelling with them or playing outside.