'It's a miracle': Owner reunited with dog thanks to Recorder appeal

Stephen Walters was reunited with Franco the Frenchie yesterday evening (Aug 31)

Stephen Walters was reunited with Franco the Frenchie yesterday evening (Aug 31) - Credit: Stephen Walters

A pet dog who had been missing for more than two months has been reunited with its owner after an appeal in the Ilford Recorder.

On Sunday (August 29), Franco, a black French Bulldog, was turned in to Wanstead Veterinary Hospital after an individual – who had purchased the dog from a third party – saw a picture of him in the Recorder. 

Franco went missing from Netley Road, Newbury Park on May 23 and owner Stephen Walters had been close to giving up when an appeal ran in the newspaper last week.

But on Sunday, Stephen received a call telling him that the dog was being sent to Wanstead, and the next morning the veterinary hospital contacted him to confirm.

Franco, a male french bulldog with a distinctive forehead mark, went missing in late May

Franco, a male French Bulldog with a distinctive forehead mark, went missing in late May - Credit: Stephen Walters

Stephen, who suspects the dog was stolen, said: “Someone called me, they’d bought him, but they won’t give me any information about how much they paid. I think they are worried they might get in trouble with the police.

“But they’ve been pretty selfless because I think they had fallen in love with the dog.”

Stephen said that Franco, who has intervertebral disk disease, appeared to have been well cared for but had seemed to have lost a small amount of weight.

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He thanked the Recorder and said: “It’s a miracle because I’d given up to be honest. I didn’t think I was going to see him again. 

“It shows how effective the local press is.”

Last week, Stephen told the Recorder that Franco was his "paramount consideration and centre of my universe" and that living without him was "hell".

He travelled down to London yesterday (August 31) from Sheffield, where he now lives, and was reunited with Franco in the evening.

“It feels pretty surreal,” he said.

Stephen thanked everyone who had reached out to him over the past couple of months with messages of support.