Banbury family ‘heartbroken’ after tragic story of Fergie

Fergie the black cockapoo went missing on January 5 but his remains were found on Sunday. His family are 'heartbroken'. NNL-161201-121710001
Fergie the black cockapoo went missing on January 5 but his remains were found on Sunday. His family are 'heartbroken'. NNL-161201-121710001

The heartbroken owners of a black male Cockapoo who died after going missing near Banbury’s flood alleviation scheme have alerted other dog owners about the dangers.

Fergie was out walking with his owner Donna Thompson and went out of sight last Tuesday at about 3pm. Despite a frantic search of the area Mrs Thompson was unable to find him and after posting something on Doglost Oxfordshire’s Facebook page, it was shared more than 5,000 times.

But the search ended tragically on Sunday afternoon when Mrs Thompson and her husband Stuart were told someone had discovered remains of Fergie, who was believed to have been hit by a vehicle on the M40 motorway. Fergie lived with the family for around 14 months after joining when he was just 18 weeks old.

Mrs Thompson said: “He changed our life for the better, we went out walking twice a day and met so many new people & lifelong friends, he was known by all the dog walkers he loved to have a game with the other dogs & most of all loved sniffing”

Within minutes of her post on Facebook, friends & family sprang into action in a bid to raise awareness, seek help and ultimately help bring Fergie home safely.

As each day drew to a close with no sign of Fergie, more and more people were compelled to help, following his story in anticipation of his safe return home.

On Friday, a Facebook group was set up for Fergie in a bid to try to co-ordinate the information as ever increasing numbers of people went out searching for Fergie and helped put up posters in the local area.

The family met at the Banbury Gateway Retail Park on Saturday and were overwhelmed to have nearly 30 people arrive to help, with more people coming to help search the flood defences and surrounding areas throughout the day and into Sunday.

As Fergie’s information was shared across social media and posters asking for information displayed all around Banbury and the surrounding villages, Mrs Thompson was inundated with calls. Sadly it was one of

these calls on Sunday afternoon that alerted Donna and Stuart of a gruesome discovery.

Speaking yesterday (Monday), Mrs Thompson said “I am just heartbroken I miss him so much, the house is so empty without him. Who would know 14 months ago a little black dog called Fergie would change our life so

much.”

In a statement by Lisa Phipps on Fergie’s Facebook page, she said: “As you can all imagine Donna & her husband are incredibly upset by this discovery & will need some time to compose themselves before they can respond to messages personally. However they have been completely overwhelmed with how so many people have come forward to help, in so many different ways & have asked that I pass my thanks to every single one of you - she has told me that she never realised how many warm & loving people there are out there.”

There is a Facebook support and advice group for people with lost pets in Banbury, run by Lisa Phipps and Lisa Gilliland, a volunteer for Doglost Oxfordshire.

Ms Phipps said: “It is a hugely distressing time for owners when their beloved pets are missing, it can be hard to think straight and many people just don’t know where to turn.

“There is also the added difficulty that people find it difficult to imagine that their pet won’t be home in an hour, by the end of the day, the end of the week and so forth, this makes it hard for them to focus on a plan of action to cover all possibilities.

“My strong advice is that as soon as you realise your dog is missing, register on www.doglost.co.uk and look up your local lost pet group on Facebook, there will be people in these groups who can provide advice specific for your situation and help provide some structure for those wanting to help. The support for Fergie was immense, it is really heart-warming to see a community brought together to help an animal in need.”