Shropshire

Bridgnorth man reunited with stolen 'hearing' dog Soot

Mr Ward reunited with Soot
Image caption Mr Ward is reunited with Soot

A dog that helps his owner with his hearing impairment has been recovered a week after it was stolen.

Soot, Peter Ward's eight-year-old border colllie, was in his car when it was stolen from a petrol station in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

Mr Ward, from Bridgnorth, said he had trained Soot to help him overcome his failing hearing and was lost without her.

She was found in Sedgley in the Black Country on Wednesday.

Thanks to media appeals, help from two dog charities and several false leads, a member of the public contacted a dog warden in Dudley to say they had found a dog fitting Soot's description.

Mr Ward, from Cann Hall Road, Low Town, said he asked the warden to try doing a "high five" with the animal to see how it would respond.

'Booted her out'

"Back over the phone about 10 seconds later, [the warden said], 'she's just done an amazing high five'."

Soot was in the back of Mr Ward's Land Rover Discovery when the thieves struck at the Hermitage services in Bridgnorth at 1905 GMT on 22 February.

He left the key in the ignition when he went to pay for fuel.

Two men in a white van were filling up at the same time and one of them got into the Land Rover while the other man followed in his van as they drove away without paying for their fuel, police said.

Mr Ward said he thought the thieves "booted her out" once they realised she was in the vehicle.

But he said she had not been mistreated, had even put on a little weight and smelled strongly of shampoo.

He described their reunion as "very emotional".

"She just sort of looked at me and grabbed part of my foot and sort of said 'can we play please'?"

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