Golden Retriever Cooper
Golden Retriever Cooper. Photo Credit: Nigel Fleming

A dog who had been rescued ran away from his new owners and traveled 40 miles to return to the family who had abandoned him. The dog traveled for 27 days to get to its home.

Dogs are among the most devoted pets, as evidenced by the story of Cooper, a Golden Retriever.

The dog was transferred to a new residence in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland when Cooper's owners were forced to give him up.

Metro said that when his previous owners had to give him and his brother George up, the Golden Retriever had been rescued from the kennels by a dedicated dog lover.

The dog, however, leaped out of the car and went back to his original owners as soon as Cooper reached the new location.

After bolting, Cooper took almost a month of travel to return to his original owners.

He walked 40 miles (64 km), mostly at night, with no understanding of his surroundings and no one to provide him with food.

The entire time, Cooper's new family was looking for him.

According to BelfastLive, he traveled to Tobermore, in Northern Ireland, where he had lived as a puppy, from the Dungannon town center via Cookstown and Magherafelt.

Day and night, Cooper avoided organized searches. He stayed away from people and cars, slipping into covert safety holes to rest.

Cooper might not have known where he was coming from. He had no map or rational grasp of the path to pursue; all he had to lead him was a cold, wet nose.

Cooper's missing poster
Cooper's missing poster. Photo Credit: Lost Paws NI

A local who saw Cooper in the Tobermore neighborhood led to his finding.

After Cooper “vanished in an instant” at the beginning of April, the dog's new owner, Dungannon-based photographer Nigel Fleming, said “he couldn’t believe” Cooper was again at home.

Mr. Fleming had adopted Cooper from the kennels as he believed the dog would make Molly, his Golden Retriever, “good company.”

Mr. Fleming told BelfastLive: “'It was a disaster. The poor boy had no idea where he was, and he was in the wind. I tried to chase after him, but he was gone in an instant – so then the search was on.

That was on April 1. With the help of a lot of people, I finally got him back today, April 26. I was determined not to give up on him, and with the help of Lost Paws NI, coordinated searches, sightings, social media, and sheer determination got us there in the end.

He claimed Cooper was now “safe,” and he was eating to “build up strength” and regain the weight he had lost over the previous 27 days.

Cooper is now safe and sound
Cooper is now safe and sound. Photo Credit: Lost Paws NI

He added: “Even when he was missing, my faith in humanity was restored thanks to the incredible help I was offered, and today with him here by my side, and with Molly, I don't really have the words to explain the gratitude I feel.”

A spokesperson for Lost Paws NI said:  “Cooper is a clever boy. Instinct took him back to a place he was familiar with. How he did it, I'll never know, but he managed it. No food, no shelter, no help, just dogged determination and that incredible nose.”

Because of this amazing demonstration of tenacity and instinct by Cooper to go back home, there’s no denying that dogs’ most distinctive trait is their loyalty.


How Aubrey describes love is a wet nose and a happy tail. She now has over a year of experience writing about canines with a particular emphasis on health and behavior. She enjoys sharing dog tips, fun facts, and pet med topics, among other things. Her passion for both writing and dogs inspired her to share her knowledge and experience with other dog parents so they could provide the greatest care for their pets. She also stands against alpha, leader, and dominance theories. She believes there’s no need to do extra things like eating prior to your dogs.