In 2011, Flo, a five-year-old Collie, ran away having been scared by fireworks. Miraculously she turned up three years later, ten miles away from home in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone, much to the Gallagher family’s delight.
A little thinner than before Flo went missing over Halloween 2011 and Lisa Gallagher and her family, based in Omagh, were distraught. The family started a campaign on Facebook to find the dog, put up flyers and took out ads on the radio and in the newspaper but Flo was nowhere to be found.
Lisa told the Ulster Herald “We had resigned ourselves to the fact that either somebody had taken her or, or she had been run over.”
Amazingly, in 2014 Lisa spotted a photo of a Collie on Facebook, photographed in the area of the former Nestle factory. The dog appeared to be a stray.
“I thought ‘I know that dog!’,” said Lisa.
The photo was posted by Grovehill Animal Shelter volunteer Janice Porter. The long-time volunteer had spotted the dog and tried to get close but Flo was just too scared.
Now based out of Belfast Lisa took two days off work to return to Tyrone and find her dog. She searched the area where Porter had spotted the dog but to no avail.
Then in true Irish style it was Gallagher’s cousin, Paul Moss, who traced the dog. Having spotted the discussion on Facebook he called the Gallagher’s straight away when he spotted the dog. Lisa and her Dad jumped straight in the car and headed for Newtownstewart.
Even after the found the dog they couldn’t catch her. The nervous Collie kept running off. Lisa returned to work in Belfast.
Two days later her brother-in-law’s mother Julie Snaith, who had continued the search, spotted Flo. She simply called her and the dog came over and allowed her to put her lead on.
Lisa was reunited with her dog the next day. She said “I was crying. I came in the door and she came over and sniffed me for a second and then gave me her paw and licked me.
“She was great, you would never know she was gone,” said Lisa.
“I thought she would be strange, but not at all.”
“A girl in a shop in Newtownstewart said they called her the ghost dog, because she only came out at night. She was so scared, she waited until night-time to try and get food.”
What Flo had been up to for three years is still a mystery but now she’s back home being fattened up and spoiled by her relieved owners.
Lisa told UTV “Just coming into the cold weather, it's unbearable to think that she would have been living outside trying to fend for herself in the cold so it's good to have her in the heat now back where she can be spoiled."