Home sweet home for Bella who went missing for four months

Bella back on the streets in Rothwell with Phil Osborne, Joseph Luckman, 13, and Sarah Osborne
Bella back on the streets in Rothwell with Phil Osborne, Joseph Luckman, 13, and Sarah Osborne

A dog who went missing for four months has been enjoying some pampering before getting back into the routine she knew and loved.

Bella returned home to Rothwell on Tuesday after owners Phil and Sarah Osborne collected her from the dog warden who had found her 130 miles away on the streets of Bristol.

They were delighted to get her home and said it didn’t take long for the five-year-old English springer spaniel to settle in.

Phil said: “I think she instantly recognised her surroundings because she darted from the gate to the doorway and when she got in, she was sniffing around.

“We had her bed all ready so there was some familiarity for her.

“I can say hand on heart that within 15 or 20 minutes she was at home again.”

Bella was taken from outside the Tesco Express store in Bridge Street, Rothwell, on October 10 last year and had been missing ever since.

Phil and Sarah have spent the past four months working tirelessly to find her and their efforts finally paid off with a phonecall on Tuesday saying Bella had been found.

Phil said having Bella in the back of the car on the way home made him feel ‘complete’ again as she is such a big part of the family.

While it is hard to say exactly where Bella has been for the past four months, Phil said the smell of her would suggest that she has been living outside, possibly on a farm with cattle, horses or pigs, for some time.

It is believed she was taken from Rothwell to Bristol, where she later escaped from her captors.

She slipped out from a shop and a woman nearby sensed that something was not right as Bella was not responding to the people who claimed to own her so she took control of Bella and called the dog warden.

Bella’s chip meant it wasn’t long before the dog warden knew who she really belonged to and rang Phil and Sarah to tell them the good news.

Following a trip to the vets on their return to Rothwell, Phil said: “They are very confident that other than a little maltreatment, she is absolutely fine and her character hasn’t changed at all.”

And Phil believes the chip is the reason they have Bella back.

He said: “It’s the underlying reason that we have her back.

“No chip, no dog.

“I am sad to say that it is a wake-up call to the nation for those who don’t bother to have their dog chipped.”

Bella has been enjoying lots of affection and treats to celebrate her homecoming, including some pampering yesterday, but it is hoped that life can now start to get back to normal for the dog whose story has gone viral and been shared hundreds of times on social media.

Phil said: “She had her Christmas present that had sat under the tree waiting for her in the car on the way home and now we are going to get back into a routine that she has always loved, which is a very active one.”