The best Christmas gift ever

Home at last: Anna with Leanda and her children Chantelle (3) and Jayden (4)
Home at last: Anna with Leanda and her children Chantelle (3) and Jayden (4)

A Newburgh family are set to enjoy one of their best Christmases ever after being re-united with the beloved dog they thought they’d never see again.

Seven-year-old Sheltie Anna disappeared seven months ago from kennels near Cupar.

Her owner, breeder Leanda Loosemore, believes she was snatched and launched a search via the police and social networking sites.

With a heavy heart she eventually gave up hope of ever finding her – until a minor miracle happened in the form of a phone call out of the blue a fortnight ago from the council in Ashford, Kent, 500 miles away.

The dog had been handed in and had been identified by her micro-chip.

“When they told me Anna had been found I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“It took a few minutes to sink in and then I started to cry with joy.

“A dog breeder I know in Kent arranged to take Anna to a dog show in Birmingham last weekend and I went down to collect her.

“When I got there someone distracted me by asking to borrow a grooming brush and when I turned back again there was Anna, standing on the grooming table.

“It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

“She did recognise me but didn’t make a huge amount of fuss,” continued Leanda (25).

“But when she saw the kids she went mad with excitement.”

Anna was in a kennel when she disappeared last May, having been moved there along with several other bitches to ensure they were safe while building work was being carried out on the house.

“When we went to check on them we saw to our horror that a fence had been taken down and Anna was missing,” said Leanda.

“I know she wouldn’t have run away and there’s no doubt in my mind that she was stolen.”

Leanda, who shows dogs under the name of Leanda Scott, has been involved in the show world since the tender age of five.

She is following in the footsteps of her great grandparents, Hugh and Doris Scott, who started breeding rough collies some 60 years ago.

When the collies became too big for the couple to manage, they turned their attention to the smaller Shetland sheepdogs.

Over the years Leanda has scooped a number of prestigious awards, including two Crufts titles with Anna’s four-year-old son Degallo the Ultimate - or Oliver as he’s known at home.

But Leanda says that beautiful though Anna is, she’s too much of a softie to be a success in the show world herself.

“She’s not the best show dog in the world as she’s too happy”, said Leanda.

“She wiggles her bum at the judges and keeps looking up at them, which she’s not really supposed to do!”

She added: “The past seven months have been a nightmare but having her back is the best Christmas present we could have wished for.”