Joy For Chiswick Family Reunited With Missing Dog After Six Weeks

Police locate Mike Clarke's pet Bertie at traveller site in Kent


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Well-known Chiswick dentist Mike Clarke and his family have been reunited with their missing dog Bertie after his six week absence, in what they describe as a "miracle".

Bertie vanished while being walked at Ham, near Richmond in mid-July, but police located him at a traveller site in Kent earlier this week.

They noticed the dog tied up outside a caravan while they were doing some police checks at the site and became suspicious. Checks on the police computer records revealed that the vehicle had been noted in Ham, where Bertie had vanished in mid-July. A check of the dog's microchip located his owners, who were jubilant at the news.

Mike had feared that the black cocker spaniel had been taken by somebody after he disappeared into bushes while with his dogwalker at Ham Lands, an area of common ground along the river Thames behind Ham House, on 13 July.

The dentist, who was on holidays in Italy at the time, immediately dashed back and set up an intensive search including coverage on and widespread use of social media, posters, missing pet websites, vets and a public appeal. The dogwalker had told him there was a convoy of 3 traveller caravans hooked to vehicles leaving the adjacent field as they had just been evicted by the Council.

Mike told that despite the enormous efforts publicise Bertie's disappearance and to find him, they had reached a position that, apart from hoax callers trying to 'rob them' there were no leads.

Dr Mike Clarke

"We had set up a FaceBook group, that quickly had over 700 members who then 'shared' to over 38000 timelines. We also put posters up wherever we could, and you kindly helped us by posting the story on ChiswickW4. Our patients were all keen to help in different ways. The Ham police unfortunately were not helpful at all, as they clearly have other priorities, but to us he was a lost member of our family - not a lost mobile phone!

"Then at about 10pm on Monday evening my wife Maggie received a call from Kent police out of the blue to say that they thought that there was a possibility that they had found Bertie, but would need more info from us including his microchip number. It would appear that the police were checking a traveller site locally in Kent and noticed a show cocker spaniel tied up for the night outside a caravan, which seemed unusual. In addition, the vehicle number plate recognition software flagged up that one of the vehicles that was allegedly seen leaving the scene of the theft of Bertie, was indeed there.

"The police rescued Bertie and we then had to wait until a police dog specialist could confirm the identity through a chip scanner. At midnight we received the call that we had prayed for- it was Bertie! The Kent police were fantastic- I was ready to drive to Sevenoaks to recover him, but they kindly offered to meet half way at Cobham services. Bertie was returned to us at 1am in the car park- surreal!

"Once home the next day we had him checked by our vet, shampooed him and life has begun to return to normal. If possible I'd like to thank everyone who showed support to us- it meant a lot to us and kept the momentum going. It is a story that told us never to give up hope, miracles do happen!"

Mike is a well known Chiswick dentist based in Chiswick Health Centre and on Burlington Lane and has featured on for his work for the burmadent charity. Earlier this year he visited Burma with a team from his practice to help people living in remote areas who have no access to dental care.

September 1, 2016

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