'I can't leave him to be out there alone' - owner's search for dog that went missing two years ago
PUBLISHED: 19:30 02 January 2019
She has spent two years and thousands of pounds trying to get back her beloved pet who is running wild - but Mel Perry will not give up.
Ms Perry, owner of China the dog, has tried everything to try and track down the animal, including installing wildlife cameras, using drones and even trying to shoot the dog with a tranquiliser dart.
The eight-year-old Podento first went missing on Wednesday, January 4 2017, when he was spooked whilst walking with Ms Perry in Martlesham.
At this point he went into survival mode, where domesticated dogs almost turn feral, losing trust in humans and readying themselves for a life in the wild.
Since then Ms Perry says trying to lure China back home has been “like trying to catch a fox” - but hope remains as sightings of China have become more and more frequent, with dozens of people spotting him in the Martlesham area since he went missing.
Ms Perry said: “I’ve spent thousands of pounds trying to get him back, buying equipment, using up fuel, everything.
“We even came very close to darting him once which cost just under £1,000 alone, but he didn’t show up to his own party.
“We have had more positive sightings. He followed behind someone the other day and took food from them. It’s a very encouraging sign.
“It may seem bonkers to some but we can’t just grab him. We have to get him to trust humans again.
“We have been spreading the message that China needs positive human interaction. Wild dogs can panic and panicked dogs don’t make good decisions.”
Ms Perry and her volunteer team have participated in weekly night-time searches, which have included the use of thermal imaging, wildlife cameras and aerial drones.
“We’ve tried absolutely everything and anything,” said Ms Perry.
“This experience has completely changed my life but I feel a responsibility to China. I can’t leave him to be out there alone getting injured, sick or even causing an accident - that would be heartbreaking.”
If you see China the dog, contact Ms Perry on 07817 776280.