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Sprout reunited in Christmas story

A missing dog has been reunited with its owners after disappearing for more than two years, proving that in this case, a dog isn’t just for life, it’s also for Christmas.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross was handed to Hounslow Council’s animal warden team who discovered that the pet had been micro-chipped by the legal owners.

Further investigation revealed that the dog – with the seasonally appropriate name Sprout - was stolen from outside a shop in Ealing in July 2005.

Sprout has had a colourful life for a young dog, spending some of his early life in the famous Battersea Dogs’ Home. The dogs’ home helped to publicise his disappearance on national television in 2006, a move that led to a £1,000 reward being put forward by ITV’s Paul O’ Grady show and former Eastenders’ star Wendy Richards.

It is believed that Sprout has been living with another family in Hounslow for more than two years. The four-year-old terrier then went missing for a second time and found his way back home to his rightful owners after two teenage boys found him and handed him to Hounslow Council.

Sprout’s owners, Charlotte Wise and Perry Gibb, who lived in Ealing at the time Sprout was stolen, have since moved to Hither Green in south east London. They now have two new arrivals, a baby daughter and another Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Hounslow Council’s animal warden team is also using Sprout’s Christmas tale to emphasise that anyone who finds a stray dog should contact the council’s animal wardens who will do their best to return it safely to its owners.

In the meantime, there will be at least one family in London who will be delighted to have a lot of Sprout this Christmas.