Stowaway Northern Ireland poodle found after 300-mile English adventure
A pet poodle who went missing from his Belfast home at the start of December has been reunited with his owner in England after arriving there as a stowaway on a boat.
In what was not so much a case of Moses parting the Red Sea as Moses crossing the Irish Sea, the beloved pet was back in the hands of his relieved and happy family yesterday after being found in Cambridge.
A traumatised Moses was thrilled to see his owner Carol Hill after his six-week adventure which took him over 300 miles away from home.
Since going missing on December 5 from the Shankill Road area, local pet rescue volunteer Jackie Petrie of Almost Home Animal Rescue NI had helped to co-ordinate a social media campaign called 'Help Find Moses'.
A few days after he went missing there were several sightings of the furry four-year-old by security staff at Belfast docks which led to a massive search of the area involving the harbour police.
The trail then went cold from December 13 and it is only now that his frantic family has learned Moses boarded a ship to England. Last week they were stunned to receive a report of a dog matching Moses description at Wood Green Animal Sanctuary. The charity at Godmanchester in Cambridge recently featured in a Channel Four series called The Dog House.
As Moses boarded the overnight boat back to Belfast yesterday - this time as a fully paid passenger - the family recalled the extraordinary tale of his misadventure.
Carol made the 14-hour-journey to Cambridge with her daughters Julie and Joan Hill overnight on Tuesday. But being reunited with Moses was not all plain sailing. "We were made aware that a very matted poodle was found in not great condition in Godmanchester, when the girl who found him put up a post on Facebook," said Carol.
"This was a week ago and when we first contacted the rescue shelter they wouldn't accept that it could be our dog because he had come from Northern Ireland.
"They initially refused to let us visit and it was only on Monday that they finally agreed and we booked the next boat to Liverpool which was Tuesday night."
During his long journey from Belfast to the south of England Moses suffered terribly.
"When rescued his coat was completely matted, he had lost some teeth and he was riddled with fleas. The rescue centre shaved his matted hair and started to nurse him back to good health.
Joan said: "I knew straight away that it was Moses and I just fell to the floor and cried. He was always a very happy, bouncy dog but he is very timid and scared. He is going to need a lot of cuddles and love."
She added: "It would appear that Moses was on board a shipping container and was shipped to England. If he was on this shipping container before Christmas, and we think he was, then he may have been in England for several weeks surviving on what he could.
"It is a four-hour drive from Liverpool to Godmanchester and it doesn't bear thinking about that he made that journey on foot."