- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 19, 2006

LONDON — A four-year search for a missing dog has ended happily after the animal walked into a house a few miles from the kennels from which she had escaped in 2002.

The owners, David Hunt, 43, and his wife, Nicola, 30, reacted with disbelief Friday after the black and tan collie-mix named Holly turned up in an “absolutely filthy but apparently good condition.”

“As soon as I saw her, I knew it was Holly,” said Mr. Hunt after he was reunited with the dog. “She came up to me as if she’d been gone for a day. Her tail was wagging, and she was licking me all over. It was a very emotional moment.”’

The dog escaped from kennels in Liskeard, Cornwall, while the Hunts were on honeymoon in Asia in May 2002.

At the time, the couple lived some 350 miles away near Manchester, but the dog was left in Liskeard with Mrs. Hunt’s parents, who put her in nearby kennels when they went away for a few days.

There were many sightings of Holly after her escape, but she avoided all attempts at capture with traps, nets and bait laced with tranquilizers.

The Hunts spent numerous weekends traveling from the north of England to Liskeard to search for their pet. They put up posters and placed advertisements in the local newspaper.

They eventually moved to Liskeard two years earlier than planned to continue the hunt.

Finally, on Thursday, the dog walked into a house in the town. The householders recognized her from a photograph in the newspaper and called the council dog warden.

Since Holly’s disappearance, the Hunts have had two children, Thomas, 2, and 6-month-old Oliver.

“Life is very different from when Holly went missing, but she will become a part of the new family,” said Mr. Hunt.

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