Back in 2004, after her family’s beloved dog Chance went missing from their backyard, Barry, South Wales, resident Julie Coombs canvassed the neighborhood, putting up “Lost Dog” posters, hoping someone might have seen the then-3-year-old black-and-white Staffordshire Terrier.
Coombs first got Chance when he was only 7-weeks-old, hoping he’d make the perfect companion for her young son, Sion. It turns out Julie’s instincts were spot-on; Chance and Sion were inseparable — that is, until the fateful day in 2004 when Chance disappeared from their yard. Eleven-year-old Sion was devastated.
“We knocked on doors, looked everywhere and advertised it on the internet, put adverts in the local papers,” Julie remembers. “We did hundreds of leaflets and we never heard a thing.”
As the months turned into years with no sign of Chance, Julie and Sion thought they might never see Chance again. But luckily, they were wrong. Finally, after a decade, Chance is back at home with the family who never quite gave up hope of finding him.
At first, when the nearby animal shelter, Coronation Kennels, called her to report that they’d recovered her dog, Julie was confused.
“I thought they’d made a mistake because we have two dogs and they were both in the house,” Julie explains.
But as the shelter worker started describing the dog, Julie’s jaw hit the floor.
“Then they said it was a black and white Staffordshire — my heart leapt, I knew it was Chance,” she remembers.
Shelter staff explained that Chance was found beneath an underpass in Newport, Wales — just 20 miles away from the Coombs’ home. When the ailing and elderly Chance was only a day from being put down, the shelter scanned him and found his microchip, leading them right to Julie.
Finding out that, even after all this time, after all these years missing their dog, she and Sion would get to see Chance again made for an almost surreal situation, Julie explains.
“It was like something from a children’s Disney movie,” she tells the Daily Mail.
Unable to contain her excitement, Julie dialed her son’s number to give him the amazing news. As soon as they’d hung up the phone, Julie and Sion, now a 21-year-old criminology student in Cardiff, rushed to the animal shelter to reunite with the four-legged friend they’d missed for 10 long years.
As soon as Chance heard Julie’s and Sion’s voices, he knew he was safe.
“We went to the dog’s home and recognized Chance straight away,” Julie tells BBC News. “And as soon as we said his name his ears pricked up as if he’d never forgotten us.”
Chance is now resting comfortably at Sion’s student apartment. Sion knows he may not have a lot of time left with Chance, but he is happy to have the opportunity to care for his long lost and now found dog.
“He’s not in the best of shape now,” Sion tells ITV News. “Basically we just want to give him the best life we can. Feed him, take him out for walks, play…and just see how long he goes for.”
“He’s nearly 13, so he’s an old man now,” Sion adds.