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Last Updated: Tuesday February 07 2006 11:41 GMT

Couple pay 4,000 for stray dog

Mears the dog
A couple have proved the British really are a nation of dog lovers, by paying 4,000 to bring home a stray dog they met while on holiday.

Nicola and Jonathan Cooksley were on holiday in the Azores, islands in the Atlantic Ocean, when an abandoned puppy started tagging along with them.

They got so fond of their dogged new pal, that they decided to pay to have him flown back to the UK.

Now Mears the Portuguese pointer has been reunited with his new owners.

The pooch, named after TV survival expert Ray Mears, spent seven months in quarantine to make sure he didn't have any diseases.

He was starving when they first met him, but has now shot up to weigh 21kg.

Mrs Cooksley, who visited Mears every week, and even flew with him on the last leg of his journey, said: "I would not hesitate to do it again. It was terribly expensive but the money did not come into it. We could not just let this animal die."

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