Doggone, Huxley’s finally back home at North Bradley

Wiltshire Times: Huxley, reunited with owners Thomas and Mary Rhode thanks to Dogs Lost volunteer Jo Middleton, left.  Photo: Glenn Phillips (47962/1) Huxley, reunited with owners Thomas and Mary Rhode thanks to Dogs Lost volunteer Jo Middleton, left. Photo: Glenn Phillips (47962/1)

A couple from North Bradley are delighted to be reunited with their German Shepherd after a desperate 10-day search when he escaped from their home.

Thomas and Mary Rhode bought one-year-old Huxley and his brother Cosmo two weeks ago. They had only had the dogs for five hours when they let them out in the yard on a long lead, and Huxley found a gap in the fence, slipped his collar and ran off.

Mr Rhode, 70, a retired builder, said: “We were looking for him for two hours but we couldn’t do anything in the dark. We were very worried. The next day we heard barking and saw him in the field near the house. But when a dog doesn’t know your voice, he is scared. Every time we got close to him, he would run off again.

“We saw him nearly every day but from Saturday onwards he disappeared.”

Mr and Mrs Rhode, who have two other German Shepherds, put up posters, set up a Facebook page and contacted the RSPCA and national database Dogs Lost.

Seven days after Huxley went missing, a man who lives on the canal in Bradford on Avon, who had seen the Facebook page, called them to say he had seen Huxley near Sainsbury’s, and they made repeated trips in a desperate attempt to catch him.

Mrs Rhode, 52, said: “We went through three tanks of petrol trying to find him. It didn’t matter what we had with us, or Cosmo, Huxley was so scared. He would look up at us and run.”

Jo Middleton, a Dog Lost volunteer and dog trainer, was called to help the couple catch Huxley. She said: “The key was to have no contact, lowering your body height and making sure we were as non-predatory as possible.

“We let him take the food and made him feel safe. He kept returning and in the end he was eating off my hand. I still had no eye contact but got a long lead around his neck.”

Mrs Rhode added: “He lost a fair amount of weight, but he is slowly gaining confidence. I am delighted he is back. I want to thank everyone who helped us.”

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