A RIPON woman has driven 3,900 miles across western Europe to retrieve her pet dog from Portugal.
Laura Turner, 22, of Brewery Lane, adopted Ebony while working voluntarily in the Portugese town of Lagos for the Cadela Carlota animal rescue charity but was forced to leave the canine behind when she returned to the UK in February.
“Somebody had already abandoned her once and I didn’t want it to happen again,” said Laura, whose return journey from North Yorkshire to the Algarve lasted a week.
“Flying is very stressful for dogs so I decided driving her back was the best option.”
Laura, who had lived in Portugal since July 2009, adopted Ebony in March 2011 after taking the canine home from the rescue centre to ensure she received her twice-daily antibiotics. Nearly a year later, Laura decided it was time to return to the UK to forge a career in the residential care industry.
“I could have stayed there in Portugal forever but it’s very difficult to make a living with the difference in seasons. You have to work all the summer and earn enough to live there during the winter,” said Laura, who supported herself doing bar work in the evenings.
Without enough money for the car trip when she left Portugal, upon returning to England Laura quickly found temporary work at Harrogate District Hospital and saved up enough funds to drive back to Portugal at the end of March.
To help spread costs and make a bit of a holiday out of the trip, Laura was accompanied on the epic car journey by friends Helen Boyle, who lives on Whitcliffe Lane in Ripon, and Carl Broadhurst, who attends university in Leeds.
“I did all the driving myself and the car’s completely broken now,” said Laura.
She estimates the trip – which included accommodation, food and having to re-fill her petrol tank 12 times – cost around £1,000 but is very pleased now Ebony has had a month to settle in at her new home in Ripon.
“It’s very nice – I did miss her a lot when I returned without her,” said Laura, who has a new job as a care assistant at the Coach House Nursing Home.
“It might seem silly to go all the way to Portugal when we have so many abandoned dogs in the UK but they have a lot over there too. I couldn’t leave her there thinking she might get taken in by someone and be abandoned yet again.”