SEREN the border collie is not exactly a shaggy dog – but her story is long enough to qualify as one of that type, and it has a happy ending.

Five years ago she went missing after escaping from the garden of owner Paul Roden, in Newport, and months of searching, lostdog posters and website queries drew a blank.

And then, out of the blue, she turned up last week.

“A woman walking with her daughter found her by the railway lines in Magor,”

said Mr Roden.

“They took her to Whitewall Kennels in Magor, where they scanned her microchip and got in touch with me.

“I was gobsmacked. I had to tell them I’d ring back, I was so surprised, I couldn’t take it in.”

The next day Seren and Mr Roden were reunited, and so began the delicate business of reintroducing her to a household with a cat and another dog.

“The cat’s not very happy, and Bailey, a terrierspringer spaniel cross and my partner Julie’s dog, has been growling at her.

They’re not the best of friends yet,” said Mr Roden.

Seren was around nine months old when she disappeared, and Mr Roden believes someone found her and sold her.

“She used to get out of the back garden when I was at work, and that one time she didn’t come back,” he said.

“Other times she’d got out and been picked up by the dog warden, who scanned her and called me.

“I don’t know who’s had her but they don’t seem to have trained her. She’s got the same mannerisms, the same faults, but she’s responding to her name already and settling in lovely.

She was all skin and bone and absolutely filthy, looked like she had been sleeping on a cowpat to try to keep warm.

“I’ve spent a small fortune on a kennel, bedding, injections, and I’ll have to make the time to make the garden more secure. I don’t want to lose her again.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind what happened to her, but she couldn’t have gone far because she was found only a tenminute drive away.

“It’s a bit of a shock, but I’m pleased as punch.”

ID microchips a must – veterinary nurse

WITHOUT an identity microchip Seren would not have been reunited with Mr Roden.

“Microchipping is something that should be offered when people come in with young animals, especially cats and dogs,” said Adina Valentine, a nurse at the Summerhill Veterinary Centre, in Maindee, Newport.

“A small microchip like a grain of long rice is inserted by needle into the scruff of the neck between the shoulder blades.

“The code number is put on a national database so the owner can be traced through a scan.

“Most of our stray animals, especially cats, are microchipped, and we can get them back to their owners.

“There are a lot of dog and cat snatches, and microchips can help in these cases.

“It is important for owners, though, if they change address or telephone number, to make sure they get those details changed.”