Halfway into the walk he suddenly started acting strange, could hardly walk, was dragging his bottom along the floor, had very loose bowls and his eyes were glazed. Then he was sick, brought up some raw meat and then collapsed on the floor. I don’t know where he ate the raw meat but I assumed he had been poisoned so took the decision to leave him in the shade with his water bowl and get the car back to him, which was 4kms away, as quickly as possible.

The drive back took longer as the tracks were very precarious and I had to clear fallen trees out of the way. When I finally got back, he was not there, just his water bowl. I called his name and looked all over to no avail. I eventually went back home to get my husband. We headed out in the hot afternoon sun armed with lots of water and searched all over but to no avail. We went again the following morning but he had vanished. We had to accept the inevitable that he had most likely found a quiet, shady place to lie down and die.

We were both brokenhearted. We had only had him a year, he was only 4 years old and in the prime of his life. He came from Portimão Canil and was very scared and frightened at first but he turned into an amazing friend and companion.

He didn’t bark like all the local dogs, only at the postman, and was friendly to all other dogs. We both felt we needed to rescue another dog but it would take time to choose the right one and make a new bond. A week after we lost him our family came for a holiday so it was a good distraction but we were still grieving. We understand how people grieve when they lose their beloved pet but we had lost him so suddenly, in the prime of his life and we had no closure.

Then 17 days after we lost him the phone rang. A lady said they had been feeding a dog twice a day for the last few days and had finally managed to get our phone number from the dog tag on his collar. He wouldn’t let them get close so they took a photo and zoomed in. Their house was around 15kms away from where we lost him in another area of remote countryside below Monchique.

You can imagine our elation when we got to their house and he was still there. He was slightly injured but found the strength to run to us for the biggest hugs ever. He is recovering well, eating and sleeping a lot and having lots of tickles.

How did he manage to recover so well, was it just a bee sting? Where was he for the 2 weeks prior to this? Why did he go to such a remote area where he had never been before?

We are so elated to have our boy back in our lives. We can’t thank the family enough for helping to reunite us all.

There are lots of wonderful dogs in the Portimão Canil looking for their forever home. They may not be pedigrees but they are strong, resilient dogs and if you give them your time, they will love you forever. Please don’t shop, just adopt.

For more information, please visit www.friendscanilportimao.com

Text by Linda Morris