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Sheba, a Golden Retriever, has been reunited with her original owner following a call to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s helpline after she was stolen four months ago.

The good news comes as the charity marks 20 years since its Lost Dogs & Cats Line was set up and helps to reunite over 1000 lost animals every year.

Sheba’s owner, Neha Popat, thought she would never see her again when she was stolen from her in broad daylight in Enfield, North London. The nine-month-old was snatched away when Neha left the dog outside a shop with the store manager. It’s thought the dog was then sold on to unsuspecting new owners who brought her into Battersea when they could no longer look after her.

Upon arrival, Battersea checked her microchip and discovered she had been reported stolen and missing since June 2018.

Neha received the all-important phone call from Battersea in October when the Lost Dogs & Cats Line, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, were able to track her down through her microchip details.

Neha said of the reunion, “As soon as I realised it was Battersea calling me, I just knew it was about Sheba. I felt quite overwhelmed and so ecstatic that not only had they found Sheba but she was unharmed. I came to collect Sheba as soon as I could, and it was really emotional to see her again. I think Sheba was a bit confused at first, as she’s still quite young and spent four months with someone else. I’m so glad she is home with us now.”

Every month the helpline logs around 300 reports of lost dogs and cats, with the first lost pet report being made in November 1998.

Shirley Smith is one of the Lost Dogs & Cats Line Administrators and remembers some unusual reunites, “We’ve had some unusual arrivals – everything from dogs being found on buses to cats being found in Royal Mail postal vans. The reunites that really stand out to me though are those when a dog or cat has been missing for a long time, and finally end up at Battersea for whatever reason.

“We deal with all emotions, from people who are very upset at losing their pet and are asking lots of questions about what to do, to those who are absolutely overjoyed that we have their missing dog or cat. It’s certainly a roller coaster of emotions working on the Lost Dogs & Cats Line but those incredible, happy moments when you see a dog rush into the arms of its relieved owner make the job so worthwhile.”

One of the best ways to be reunited with your pet is for them to be microchipped and for the details to be up to date. This has been a requirement by law since April 2016.

Shirley adds, “If we have correct microchip details and can get in touch with owners, we can reunite a missing dog or cat within hours, saving owners a lot of heartache and saving their pets the stress of having to go into the unfamiliar environment of kennels or a cattery.

If it wasn’t for Sheba’s microchip, we would never have known that she was stolen and would never have been able to reunite her with her original owner.”

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