AN ENGLISH Bulldog who was stolen from her owner seven years ago has been found on the eve of the Royal Wedding – and renamed Duchess.
Ruth Kirkby, 34, from Tottenham in London was devastated when the pup, then only 18 month old and named Holtz, went missing from her back yard in June 2011.
But she never gave up hope, updating her microchip details each time she moved, and last week had a call out of the blue saying she’d been found – 140 miles away in Yarmouth.
Ruth said: “I couldn’t believe it. She’d been dumped with a male chihuahua and someone handed them in to a vet in Great Yarmouth.
“The vet rang me and said, ‘Have you lost your dog today? We’ve found her.’ I was dumbstruck. I said, ‘She was stolen seven years ago!’
“We were in a state of total shock but drove there the next morning to collect her. She looked puzzled at first then began wagging her tail. I just cuddled her and cried and cried.
“We’ve renamed her Duchess as she was found just before the Royal Wedding and we want to treat her like a Queen for the rest of her days.”
Sadly, the dog wasn’t in a good way and vets believe she had been living on a puppy farm and had been used to produce many litters – English Bulldog pups can sell for up to £2,500.
Duchess was skin and bone, her nails had grown so long she struggled to walk and she has a tumour on her front leg which needs urgent treatment.
Ruth, a pawnbroker, said: “While we were so pleased to find her thinking about what she’s been through is heartbreaking. She’s been used to breed so many litters.
“She’s had pups recently and has mastitis and when we went to collect her she looked so thin and helpless. She’s just been used to make money and dumped when she was no use any more.
“How people could do such a thing beggars belief. It makes me sick. The chihuahua who was dumped with her was elderly and he’s clearly been used to father pups as well.
“It breaks my heart thinking of how she’s suffered. We’ve missed most of her adult life so now I want her to be happy and loved for the rest of her days.
“My sister Joni is going to care for her as I have a two year old son now and I think as a senior dog, she needs to be in a calm environment, but we will see her every day.”
Ruth thinks the dognappers had watched her take the pup on walks then waited for her to be alone in her yard then scaled a six foot wall to steal her.
At the time, she called the police, registered her on DogLost.co.uk, shared posts on Facebook, called local vets and wardens and put her face on posters all around London.
Ruth said: “The morning we realised she was missing, our other dog Scraps, a Jack Russell, was in the house trembling. He wouldn’t go in the yard and was terrified.
“He must have seen them take her. But I never gave up hope. I stayed in touch with the DogLost website and checked the found dogs section regularly, and I always updated her microchip.
“It’s wonderful to have her home and now we want to get her back to being a healthy dog again.”
Jayne Hayes from Doglost.co.uk added: “We are so thrilled they’re reunited. It reiterates what we say to all owners who lose their dogs, never give up and always keep your microchip details up to date. We hope Duchess recovers from her ordeal and can enjoy a happy life with her family.”
Ruth and Joni, 32, have set up a JustGiving page where wellwishers can donate to pay for her care at
A version of this story also appears in the Daily Star Sunday and you can read it here….Dog reunited with owner after SEVEN years!