It’s a real life ‘Homeward Bound’ story: Sheepdog finds its way home from 240 miles away

It’s a real life ‘Homeward Bound’ story: Sheepdog finds its way home from 240 miles away

A 240 mile trip? That's what you call a sheepdog trial!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Did you hear the one about the dog that found its way home from 240 miles away? No, this isn’t the plot line for the latest Lassie movie, it’s the real life story of Pero.

Pero is a working sheepdog who made the solo trip from a farm in Cumbria back to his original home in the village of Penrhyncoch in mid-Wales.

The mammoth journey took the four-year-old pooch 12 days, but he turned up on the doorstep of farmer Alan James largely unscathed, although he had suffered a little weight loss.

So how did Pero achieve such an extraordinary feat? Dog trainer Hanne Grice joined Julia Hartley-Brewer to explain.

“It’s a testament to how amazing our four-legged friends are,” she said. “There are a number of factors coming into play here.”

And they are…?

Magnetic Field: “New research, published only this year, has shown dogs can not only feel the earth's magnetic field, but also see it. Some animals, like sea birds, use the sun and stars to navigate from one point to another - this could be the case [with Pero] - but dogs tend to use the earth’s magnetic field and this is more likely.”

Scenting: “A highly sophisticated scenting ability will have helped. Through scenting, dogs have been known to create maps. It’s like us walking and chatting on a phone; phone signals bounce around from one tower to another to create a visual of where we are – dogs do this with smell.”

Memory: “Research has shown dogs can map out their environments by memorising where things are [in relation] to prominent landmarks.”

And, of course, the story has a happy ending. Although taken back by Pero’s reappearance, the James’ family are overjoyed to have him home.