Homesick sheepdog ‘walks 380km’ home


Dog behaviourist Stan Rawlinson said working dogs especially tend to have a “natural compass”and sense of spatial awareness. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

A homesick sheepdog made a remarkable 380km journey home to his birthplace in Wales after escaping from his new home in Cumbria.
In an incredible story that echoes the classic story Lassie Come Home, 4-year-old working dog Pero is thought to have returned to the village of Penrhyncoch, Ceredigion by foot 12 days after escaping from his new owners in Cockermouth.
He turned up on the doorstep of his original owners Alan and Shan James limping and a little thinner than before, but in otherwise good condition.
To achieve the feat Pero would have had to travel an incredible 20 miles a day, potentially navigating busy motorways including the M6 and M62.
While the tale is reminiscent of fictional hounds like Lassie, who travelled hundreds of miles from the highlands of Scotland back home to Yorkshire, animal behaviour experts say it is not impossible that a dog in real life could make such a perilous journey.

“He obviously wasn’t happy in his new home, the farmer said he could see he didn’t settle. He was shy,” she said.Shan James said it is a “mystery”how he found his way back home, after being sent to the Cumbrian farm for a trial.
“He took him to gather some sheep and that was the last time he saw Pero, he was going across the field and not thinking of turning back.”
“I thought someone would get in touch because he had a microchip, but on Wednesday night after supper my husband went out and there he was on the doorstep waiting for him.
“He was jumping up at him he was going mad, just jumping around in circles. It’s just a mystery as to how he has turned up on the doorstep.
“They say dogs can find their way home but it’s quite a distance from Cockermouth. My sons go up there every year to shear and they have to use a sat-nav to get home so for a dog it’s quite remarkable.”
Dog behaviourist Stan Rawlinson said working dogs especially tend to have a “natural compass”and sense of spatial awareness.
The couple are now appealing for anyone who may have seen Pero on route between Cumbria and Wales to get in touch so they can piece together how me managed to get home.
After his journey Pero, one of 15 sheepdogs on the James’s farm, is unlikely to be embarking on another adventure any time soon.
“I don’t think it would be fair for us to send Pero away again,” Mrs James said. “He obviously enjoys his home. I’m sure Pero will see his years out here.”

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