Home again: Emotional reunion

11-year-old UK girl reunites with pet dog her family had to leave behind in Dubai six months back

Overjoyed
Image Credit: Supplied
Ooverjoyed: Alyssa’s parents captured the reunion on video, which has become a YouTube hit, with36,000 views in just six days.
11 XPRESS

Dubai: There was a dog's chance of it happening. But an abandoned German Shepherd cross who was 20 minutes from being put down in Dubai was reunited with its owners thousands of miles away in the UK.

Even as videos of the touching reunion of Holly with the Smith family in Hampshire have gone viral, UAE animal rescue groups that made it possible said the dog flew aboard an Emirates flight on November 17 after an equally dramatic turn of events.

Raghad Auttabashi of Al Rahma Animal Welfare Society, Abu Dhabi told XPRESS the pet was adopted by Darren and Claudia Smith, former residents of Dubai, two years ago. In May 2011, Darren lost his job and had to return to the UK. They were forced to leave Holly behind with a family but had every intention of getting her to the UK after the quarantine period. In fact, they had secured her pet passport and had her blood tests done before they left.

But as it turned out, Holly ran away from its new owners. Given up as an ‘abandoned dog', she was due to be put down at 1pm on an August afternoon.

Luckily, an animal lover who spotted her on ‘death row' posted a Facebook message with an adoption appeal. Raghad decided to take in the pet. "We managed to save her 20 minutes before she could be put down."

Kayla, as the dog was named, was cleaned and vaccinated. Shortly after, Raghad got in touch with Montserrat Martin of Friends of Animals (FOA), another rescue group, to help re-home the dog. Montserrat took pictures of her and posted an ad on the FOA website and an online forum.

Five weeks later, she received the most unexpected call; it was from Claudia Smith in Hampshire who claimed Kayla was her Holly! "Weeping like a child, Claudia said she had no doubt about Holly's identity. The conviction was touching," said Montserrat, who put her on to Raghad.

The next thing they knew they were all working to string Holly's papers together and fly her to Hampshire where the Smiths prepared to give their daughter Alyssa a lifetime's surprise.

"I grumbled about the money [the reunion cost them Dh7,450] but the look on my daughter's face was a priceless family moment," Darren Smith told the BBC.

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11 Comments
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  • katy

    Nov 24, 2011 12:48

    Is there nothing more important happening in this country to publish such a news?

  • Zahid Siddiqui

    Nov 24, 2011 12:45

    For sure there should be better news to make the headlines.

  • Genny

    Nov 24, 2011 12:11

    Very touching.......couldn't hold back my tears........

  • Tareeq Yahiya

    Nov 24, 2011 11:58

    I'm speechless! Just look at the little girl's face filled with tears of joy! Real love for her pet! God bless!

  • Younas Khan

    Nov 24, 2011 11:54

    This is silly news. There are billions of people who love dogs. What type of news is this?

  • Ashraf Sheikh

    Nov 24, 2011 11:48

    It's interesting how XPRESS turns every YouTube video featured in its articles as 'hit'. 36,0000 or 50,000 are not hits. They need to reach atleast 1 million to be anywhere close to a hit.

  • Sara

    Nov 24, 2011 10:32

    This video made me weep! As a muslim we are not allowed to keep dogs in our house, but I love dogs and wish I could adopt a puppy. Ir's an emotional story, but with a happy ending!

  • Lata

    Nov 24, 2011 10:20

    This was a lovely reunion. Thanks to the animal lover who arrived at the last minute and saved the dog. I too am an animal lover and would like to register myself with some animal organisation wherein I could save these creatures.Thanks for this lovely article!

  • kadija

    Nov 24, 2011 9:54

    IT IS VERY TOUCHING... I FELT TEARS IN MY EYES WHEN THE LITTLE GIRL BURST INTO TEARS SEEING HER PET DOG.. AND THE DOG EQUALLY SHOWING RECOGNITION OF ITS LOVING OWNERS... WELL DONE RAGHAD FOR SHOWING MERCY AND COMPASSION IN RETURNING HOLLY BACK TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNERS.

  • junaid

    Nov 24, 2011 9:53

    Wow! I'm moved by the headline. Was a bit busy to read the whole story but still I am shocked to see it as the top story -- #1 -- on Gulf News.People are dying in this world... there are so many other things that deserve more attention of the media....

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