TWENTY-EIGHT dog years had passed since TJ had slept at the foot of his owner’s bed.
But yesterday, thanks to microchips, TJ was returned to his original family by the RSPCA after four years of not knowing his whereabouts.
Denise Botheras collected him from the RSPCA and has been pampering him ever since, with doggy treats and baths in tea-tree oil.
“It’s definitely him. He does all the same things. He’s just not as crazy as he used to be,” she said.
TJ has remembered tricks that he was taught by the family. He barks louder when told “louder, louder”, and he will “say please” when standing on his hind legs.
The dog was a gift to Ms Botheras’ daughter, Michelle Botheras, when she was 17, now 11 years ago.
Michelle is still trying to comprehend TJ’s return.
He had disappeared shortly after the family had moved house, but was found by the RSPCA in Bakery Hill. “If dogs could talk, who knows the stories he would tell,” Michelle said.
Hayley Aisbett from the Ballarat RSPCA says it’s fantastic that TJ was returned to his family, but this doesn’t happen enough.
“Microchipping is so important with pets, and gives families the best chance of reuniting with their pets,” she said.
The RSPCA also reminds families to update their contact details with the microchipping company, so that they can be easily contacted.