Jason Gallagher is highlighting the importance of getting pets microchipped and registered after his family were left devastated when their Jack Russell disappeared without trace last May. After weeks of searching the area near their home at Lougher, Duleek, hopes they would find Spot began to dwindle, leaving family members heartbroken.
“We’ve had Spot over six years. We got him as a companion for our 10-year-old German shepherd Dora,” said Jason. “The two dogs were very, very close and spent all their time together.
“Added to this, my [nine-year-old] son Samuel was diagnosed with diabetes and was in and out of hospital. Spot picked up on this and rarely left his side, either.
“On May 25 last, Spot went off on one of his little strolls and didn’t come back. We searched the countryside, we asked local residents and we even asked people to look out for Spot through the text alert system. Weeks went by and no-one saw or heard anything. We began to think we’d never see him again.”
Jason said they were heartbroken.
“It was like a death in the family when he disappeared,” he said.
“The little fella grieved for the dog and the change in him was unreal. The German shepherd went completely off her food, suffered skin inflammations and lost all her hair.”
Six months later, Jason got a call from Lynne Archer at Collon Animal Sanctuary in Co Louth saying a dog’s microchip had showed he was registered to him.
“Seemingly, someone had picked up Spot near Drogheda thinking he was a stray and held onto him until they had to give him up for allergy issues. I couldn’t believe it.
“I picked him up last Wednesday and had him sitting in the porch when Samuel arrived home from school. There were neighbours in to see his reaction and there were tears from everyone. The kids cried, the wife cried, and the neigh- bours cried.
“I brought him to the vet for a check-up and Spot is 2kg overweight so he definitely was living the life of a lord where he was.”
Jason is urging pet owners to get their pet microchipped and registered.
“I can’t stress how important it is. I would’ve walked past Spot in the street because I wouldn’t have been sure it was him with the added weight. He knew me because he went berserk when he saw me, but I definitely would’ve struggled to recognise him at first.”
Spot lost no time in settling back into the Gallagher house.
“He was straight over to his bed and straight back into his routine and snuggling up with my wife Johanna and kids Chloe  and Daniel , as well as Samuel.
“The fella that won the €11m in the lottery recently didn’t feel as good as I did last week in getting back a family member. It was pure joy at home.
“When the big fella comes on Christmas Eve, my kids won’t be smiling as much as when they saw that dog again.”