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Missing dog found 700km from home

Four-year-old German shepherd Lily went missing from her home in Goulburn, NSW over seven months ago and today her owners drove 700 kilometres in seven hours to find her again.

Owners Theresa and Tracker, and their kids Carly and Stuart, were absolutely devastated by the loss of their beloved pooch and said they were gobsmacked to find out she was at The Lost Dogs' Home in North Melbourne.

"We were at a wedding on the coast over the weekend and came home to a message from The Lost Dogs' Home saying that Lily was in Melbourne," Theresa said. "I was completely dumbfounded that she had somehow gone interstate."

"Our daughter Carly started hyperventilating when we told her the news!'"

The couple suspect Lily was taken from their yard, as the heavy front gate -- which had been locked the night previous -- was unhinged when Tracker set off to work on the early May morning. Theresa said her son had snuck Lily up to his room during the evening before and let her out at 5.30am so his parents wouldn't know she'd spent the night indoors. In roughly an hour timeframe, Lily was missing from their property.

"She's an incredibly friendly dog but she normally barks at strangers who drive up to our house," Tracker said. "Because we didn't hear anything that morning, we suspect the person who took her was familiar to her."

After speaking with staff at the Home on Sunday to make arrangements, Theresa and Tracker jumped in the car at midnight last night and drove over seven hours to North Melbourne. The reunion between the exuberant dog and her loving owners was certainly a joyful one -- although it came with a surprise.

"It looks like she has had pups in the time she's been away," Theresa noted. "She wasn't pregnant when she went missing so maybe that was the intent of whoever took her -- to use her as a breeder."

Despite this, Theresa and Tracker said Lily looked the same as always and couldn't wait to get her home to the kids.

"Our son is a big, macho 18-year-old but ever since we found out Lily is alive and well, he's been posting pictures of her on Facebook, with love hearts and the whole deal," Theresa laughed. "I know both kids will be over the moon to see her again."

Lucky for Lily, nothing much will have changed at her home, with her owners saying they couldn't bring themselves to throw her things out.

"She was microchipped as a pup and so we always had hope that one day she would come back to us," Tracker said. "There came a point where we were going to throw out the lounge she likes to sleep on but when the time came, we just couldn't do it. We thought we'd better hang on to it in case she came home."

"I never really saw the point of microchips before, being from the country, but I'm definitely a convert now!"

National Pet Register Manager Kate Hoelter said this family's story really highlights the importance of microchipping your pet and keeping the contact details up-to-date.

"As soon as Lily was brought into the Home on Friday, we immediately scanned her for a chip and found Theresa and Tracker's details," Kate said. "If they hadn't taken that measure in the past, I don't think Lily would ever have gotten home."

Kate said although National Pet Register reunites around 24,000 pets with their owners every year, seeing the joy on both Lily and her owner's faces when they were reunited was just wonderful.

"It almost brings a tear to your eye, seeing how dedicated these people are to their pet," Kate said. "To get up at midnight and drive for seven hours straight to collect their dog is really amazing and we only wish all dogs and cats were shown the same amount of love and dedication that Theresa and Tracker show Lily."

National Pet Register hold monthly discounted microchipping events around Victoria and Queensland. To microchip your pet and ensure they have a way of getting back home to you, visit petregister.com.au

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