A FAMILY pet which went missing for more than five months has turned up in Rayleigh.

Holly, a three-year-old Bichon Frise, went missing on February 22 after slipping out of her collar while being walked by owners June Fountain, 62, and John O’Rilley, 62, close to their home in Charlton, south east London.

More than 14,000 posters were put up in an attempt to find Holly but without success.

More than five months later Holly was found in Rayleigh, more than 35 miles away, and was taken to Vets4Pets on Eastwood Road.

There she was scanned and the vets were able to contact the family with the good news.

Mrs Fountain said: “We are just elated. I have to keep going and looking at her in her basket to check that she’s still there.

“We can’t thank everybody who helped enough, from the people who put everything into trying to find her every single day, to those who bought a roll of Sellotape to stick the posters up, we could never have done it alone.

“It has been a really difficult few months, especially dealing with feelings of guilt that she had escaped whilst walking with me, but we never, ever gave up hope that she would eventually be found.”

Holly had only recently become part of the family after being rescued from a puppy farm, and had been described as very nervous.

After going missing, 14,000 posters were printed and distributed around the area, with

Animal lover Heather Kent, 58, from Plumstead, London, who co-ordinated the search effort on behalf of June and John said: “Holly has the most incredible story - through the snow and blistering heat she has shown just what a tough dog she is.

“The work that everybody has put into finding her is just unbelievable, June and John have done everything under the sun to get her back, even sitting out until midnight in the park in freezing temperatures with a barbecue to try and lure her back, and getting through some really difficult days along the way.

“They are the most wonderful, humble people and have offered me a reward so many times, and I keep having to tell them my reward was seeing Holly reunited with her family at last.”

Vets4Pets practice manager Vicky Ambrose said: “When Holly arrived it was clear she had been missing for some time.

“But it was only when she was scanned for a microchip and her information checked that it was discovered just how long this had been.

“This is an amazing story that demonstrates just how important it is for animals to be microchipped.

“It can be an invaluable tool in helping to reunite lost pets with their families.”