A loyal dog has walked 37 miles within 26 days so that it could be reunited with its owner who claims to have accidentally left it at a service station in China.
The loyal dog, nicknamed Dou Dou, was left at a service station in China by its family when they decided to stop at the motorway facility and have a rest.
For nearly a month, the exhausted and emaciated dog went on the quest of a lifetime. It travelled through bustling traffic and busy highways in order to be reunited with its family.
A state-run newspaper reported that the seven-year-old pet is owned by Mr Qiu and his family from the eastern Chinese city Hangzhou. They had been travelling by car to the countryside so that they could visit relatives for a month.
The family brought along Dou Dou, as he had been living with them for many years.
According to Qianjiang Evening News, the family decided to stop at the Tong Lu Service Station, which is approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) from their home.
Mr Qiu told the newspaper how that had assumed Dou Dou had stayed inside the car whilst the family had been distracting looking after their young child.
Apparently, it went unnoticed for several hours that Dou Dou was no longer in the back of the car. They realised the pet was missing when they reached their destination.
The following day, the family claim they rushed back to the service station and spent two hours searching for their loyal dog. Yet they couldn’t see Dou Dou and Mr Qiu and his wife decided they would come back on several more occasions in the hope that eventually they’d be reunited.
Eventually, it came to a point when the family heartbrokenly accepted that it was extremely unlikely that they would see Dou Dou again.
Mr Qiu told the newspaper: “[We] hoped it would survive and find a good-hearted person who would adopt it.”
A month after the pet’s disappearance, on a Thursday, the family suddenly spotted “a dirty, gaunt stray dog” and realised that it was their Dou Dou at the door.
Initially, they didn’t realise that the scrawny dog was theirs but upon a closer inspection, they were shocked and surprised to discover that their beloved pet had miraculously found its way back home.
Immediately, the family rushed to give Dou Dou some food and water and a bath to clean the pet up after its tiresome journey home.
Mr Qiu commented: “Apart from being skinner than before, [Dou Dou] was still the same self. Its eyes are radiating with lights.”
He added: “Luckily it didn’t have any injuries.
“Even though Dou Dou was tired and walking wobbly on the first day [after returning home], it has become a lot more energetic recently.”
Animal experts have expressed their amazement at Dou Dou’s story and of the pet’s ability to find its way back home.
A dog trainer told the Hangzhou-based newspaper: “We are still trying to understand dogs’ many behaviours.
“But [Dou Dou] can find home even from so far away. It has exceptional talents.”
Meanwhile, other experts are insisting that Dou Dou’s adventure home was purely “accidental” and have warned other owners to watch their pets closely when outdoors or travelling – they say you cannot expect the same outcome as this heartwarming story.