The owner of a dog who was in a horsebox when it was stolen from a show said getting her back was “the most amazing day of her life”.

Gabby Cox’s lorry was taken from Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show on Monday (25 August). It was later found abandoned in Essex but although the thieves had left all the tack and equipment, worth some £10,000, inside, Jack Russell Smarty was not there.

Gabby’s desperate appeal to find her “best friend in the world” was shared widely online and the next night, a 15-year-old girl found a “cold and wet” terrier on the side of the road near Lakeside, Essex.

As it was late, the teenager took the dog home, bathed and fed her, and let her sleep on her bed, taking her to a vet the next morning.

“The vet scanned her microchip and we got the call,” Gabby told H&H.

“I was hysterical. I don’t think I’d expected to hear that; I think it was the most amazing day of my life.”

Gabby said the fact the vet could trace Smarty’s owner so quickly underlines the importance of chipping, which is compulsory for dogs and will be for all horses in England from October 2020.

“I’d never really thought about it before; but everything of ours will be microchipped now!” she said.

“The girl who found her had been staying at her grandmother’s with no internet, and it was only when she got home that her parents realised, as they’d seen the posts.

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“This has been the most amazing thing in the world, it’s restored my face in humanity. People have been absolutely brilliant, all the dog lost and found groups and other people posting flyers and sharing them – I can’t thank people enough.”

Smarty looks none the worse for her adventures, Gabby said, adding that she has been given extra food and treats since her return, “exactly what she wants”.

“You accept that one day you’re going to lose them as they’re only lent to us,” she added. “But not that way. She’s been everything to me and not to know if she was suffering or anything; it’s a horrendous feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

“I’m just so happy she’s home.”

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