'We're so thrilled she's safe and well and also a winner. You couldn't make this stuff up,' the pup's relieved family said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 19, 2022. It has since been updated.
An English family was in for quite the rollercoaster of emotions when their dog ran away from home, only to return later that day with a rosette from a dog show. Peter and Paula Closier were overcome with worry when their 5-year-old beagle-cross Bonnie vanished from their home in Bolney, West Sussex, on July 10, 2022. They searched all over with a search party that included their two daughters and neighbors and even called the police, local vets and the dog warden in a desperate attempt to find her.
Speaking to The Argus, the couple revealed that they were feeding Bonnie and their other dog Cleo when Bonnie disappeared. "We thought maybe she is not interested in food and did a full search of the house. I could not see her," 52-year-old Peter shared. "I was walking back to the kitchen when I saw the gate had swung and I thought 'oh no.'" They had almost begun to give up after a three-hour search when Paula spotted a Facebook post by someone named John Wilmer asking for the pet's owner to get in touch. They soon found out that Wilmer was on his way to a dog show in Felbridge, Surrey, with two dogs of his own, when he spotted Bonnie by the side of the road just minutes after she escaped.
Once the family's fears were eased, Wilmer decided to enter Bonnie into the dog show he was attending in the rescue dog class. To everyone's surprise, the beagle cross came third in the category and left her family stunned when she returned home with the rosette she'd won. "We couldn't believe it. You could not make it up," said Peter. "Bonnie was absolutely fine when she got back. She just thought she was having a great day out."
Speaking of what inspired him to enter Bonnie in the competition, Wilmer told BBC: "She was such a lovely dog, I thought it'd be good to enter her. I was in a bit of a rush to get there when we found Bonnie and put her in the car. I left a message on Facebook before taking her to the show. I was so pleased she did so well." Peter and Paula, who are both dental technicians, revealed they had never entered Bonnie—who was rescued from the streets of Crete four years ago when she was one—into any competitions, unlike their other dog Cleo, who has won three rosettes at dog shows for Greek dogs.
"We never pursued dog shows with Bonnie. We should do now," Peter said. "When she was missing I had five different outcomes in my head, the best being that she came back. This was even better than that, she came back with a rosette." Meanwhile, a relieved Paula said: "We're so thrilled she's safe and well and also a winner. You couldn't make this stuff up. We were frantic as we live right by the main road. Bonnie used to be a street dog and we were so worried she wouldn't have known to come back."
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Lost dog wins at Felbridge show after escaping Bolney home - BBC News https://t.co/TLOzRO6Uhj
"She's had such a full life. When John brought her back to us with a rosette we couldn't believe it. It's a shame she didn't come first in the show," Paula added. The family has since set up an Instagram profile for Bonnie, "the famous doggie, who escaped home for an amazing adventure that ended up with [her] winning a Rosette!!"