AN ENGLISH couple spent almost 6,000 euros to take back to the UK a starving dog that followed them for eight hours while on a holiday trek in Portugal’s Azores Islands.
Nicola and Jonathan Cooksley were walking near an extinct volcano in São Miguel in the Azores when an abandoned puppy tagged along and would not leave. He followed them for eight hours over rocky terrain and through a lake. The couple, from Dorset, became so fond of him that they paid to fly him home and have since named him Mears, after TV survivalist Ray Mears.
Mears, thought to be a six-month-old Perdigueiro (a Portuguese pointer) is now in quarantine in Somerset for six months.
Mother-of-two, 47-year-old Nicola, a management consultant from Martinstown, commented: “When we first saw him, he was in a terribly emaciated state. His whole chest was just ribs.” When asked about the dog’s persistence, she explained: “He was absolutely determined to stay with us – there was no way he was going to give up, even though his paws were bleeding and his claws were worn down to virtually nothing.”
After their holiday, the Cooksleys arranged for Mears to be flown to the UK via Lisbon after checking out the legal procedure with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Nicola even flew out to Lisbon to accompany Mears on the final leg of his journey and now regularly travels 30 miles to see him in quarantine. “I see him most days. He’s doing very well and has put on a tremendous amount of weight,” she says.