An unexpected turn of events has cast sadness in the hearts of everyone following the story of Gui – the Golden Retriever that has been missing for nearly 600 days and was believed to have been found this week after a tireless search campaign on Facebook.
António Costa (no relation the PS leader!) was sure he had been reunited with his “confidant” on Monday in Gondomar, nearly 400kms away from home, but a woman has come forward claiming the Golden Retriever that was found is in fact hers.
As we went to press, the dog was about to undergo DNA tests (using fur stored meticulously by Costa) to determine whether or not the Golden Retriever is Gui.
“We are devastated,” a message could be read on the ‘Ajudem a encontrar o Gui’ (Help us find Gui) Facebook page.
Costa was so sure the dog was his missing companion that he told Jornal de Notícias: “At first he looked at me with a guilty look as if he’d done something wrong, but then it was a celebration.”
Gui had been missing since May last year, when his fascination for the back-seat of cars saw him jumping into the car of a stranger in their hometown of Melides, Grândola.
Feeling distraught, the 68-year-old retired banker decided to tell his story to a group of Golden Retriever lovers on Facebook, which led Coimbra-based lawyer Magda Ferreirinha to launch a Facebook page to find Gui.
“I lived this problem as if it were my own, because 30 years ago I lost a dog and didn’t have the same technology there is these days to find him,” she explained.
Ferreirinha ended up speaking to thousands of people, gathering support, knocking on many doors and driving many kilometers across the country.
Many false alarms later, their search led them to Gondomar – around 400kms from where he disappeared – where the dog that everyone was convinced was Gui was found by people who followed the Facebook page and were touched by the story.
He was “well-treated” and no one is sure how he ended up there.
“Someone probably had him and let him go free due to the pressure on social media,” Costa believed before the dog’s alleged owner came forward.
Now everyone is waiting on the results of the DNA tests hoping this story will indeed have a happy ending.
By MICHAEL BRUXO firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: António Costa pictured with the Golden Retriever he believes is his much-loved Gui