A DOG owner who was forced to give up her beloved pooch has been reduced to tears after spotting him in an online forum two years after letting him go.
Carly Downes, from Stafford, was heartbroken when she had to put cocker spaniel Buddy up for adoption back in 2019 and feared she would never see him again.
His severe separation anxiety meant Carly was unable to leave him alone for even short periods of time, making work impossible.
The 34-year-old made the gut wrenching decision to part with Buddy, who was re-homed with an agency that did not give her a forwarding address.
The dog lover was wracked with guilt for years, until one day she spotted Buddy
in a photo posted on the Frenchic Fan Forum, a group with more than 440,000 members.
Fellow group member, Kellie Mackenzie, 43, was showing off her handiwork on her newly painted fireplace on Sunday and posted a snap showing the finished product with Buddy just visible in the corner.
Carly immediately recognised the pooch’s expression and from the way he was sitting, suspected it was her beloved dog.
She messaged Kellie after realising she lived close by and the women managed to confirm Buddy’s identity, who now goes by the name Woody.
A gobsmacked Kellie took to the forum again to share the incredible tale, writing: “A member of the forum messaged me last night after seeing my fireplace photo as she was sure my dog Woody was her dog Buddy who she had to give up for adoption.
“It had broken hers and her husband’s hearts but they knew they had to do what was best for their much loved boy.
“I was absolutely amazed as it is one in the same dog!
“We adopted Buddy/Woody and he is now a much loved member of our family.
“Without this forum she would never have known where he had ended up and that he is safe and loved.”
Fellow group members were captivated by the story.
One woman wrote: “Wow, I love this. How amazing that she found you and could see he is very much loved.”
Another added: “That’s incredible. What a huge relief it must have been for the previous owners to know how much he is loved and in a safe and happy home.”
And one person said: “I just shed a tear. This made me happy and sad all at the same time. Fabulous story!”
Speaking today, Carly explained her emotional decision: “He was great with us, but his one issue was separation anxiety, we couldn’t leave Buddy at home for any length of time without him being distressed.
“We worked really hard with him to help his anxiety, maybe I spoilt him a bit too much.”
Carly tried desperately to accommodate Buddy, even moving house to be closer to family who could help, but he remained unable to be left alone.
She added: “We contacted an animal behavioural specialist who said that it may take months of my being off work to try and get him used to being on his own which isn’t something that we could readily do.”
The decision was taken to re-home Buddy and Carly tried to move on, until she saw the fateful photograph.
She added: “I’d recognise that face anywhere honestly.
“He was cut just the same as we had him too with shorter ears and he always has a solemn face in him even when he’s happy.
“I spent the whole night crying with relief and trying to free myself from the guilt I’d had for many months.”
Kellie said the women chatted “for hours” after the discovery and she reassured Carly Woody was being looked after.
She added: “Woody has been a much loved member of our family ever since and best friend to our other dog Murphy.
“I still can’t believe that my slight obsession with paint and that one photo I shared of my fireplace transformation on the Frenchic Fan Forum has led to such a wonderful story.”