Ozzie the cat, who went missing for six months after escaping from a pet carrier on the way to the vets, has been reunited with its owners thanks to our caring security colleague Beth Tate.
Beth was doing perimeter checks on her late night shift at our Hartlepool store when she spotted the frightened cat in the car park. She tried to pick him up, but he was too scared.
As it was a very cold night Beth was concerned about his welfare so she took a photo of him and, after her shift had finished, scoured the local lost and found pet pages on Facebook to see if she could track down his owners.
The photo Beth took matched one of Ozzie who'd gone missing in August last year after running across a busy road and into fields after escaping from his cat carrier on his way to the vets, so Beth messaged the owners to say she thought she'd found him.
Jade Malone, who shares one-year-old Ozzie with housemate Sasha Dickenson, said: "We couldn't believe it. We really had given up all hope of finding him. We'd only had a him a few days and were taking him to the vets when he escaped.
"We looked all over for him, put posters up and pleas on Facebook too. We'd been to see a few cats who people thought was Ozzie, but it wasn't him."
After Beth had messaged her, Jade went to look for Ozzie but it was dark and after living in the wild for six months the cat was scared and a bit skittish so she returned home without him.
But the next day one of Jade's friends, Josh O'Connor, called to the store to see if he could see Ozzie – and there he was sitting in the middle of the car park!
Jade said: "He just went up to him and picked Ozzie up straight away, put him in his car and brought him here. We couldn't believe it!
"We can't thank Beth enough for what she did. Taking the trouble to search Facebook for lost cats was a really caring thing to do."
Ozzie was checked over by a vet, and is absolutely fine despite his experience.
Animal-loving Beth, who has worked at the store for 10 years, said: "I just spotted this little ginger cat and thought it was a bit odd as there are no houses where we are are.
"He looked well, and not homeless. I couldn't get hold of him though as he was scared, so I got a photo and then when I went home searched Facebook – but a lot of the cats on there all looked the same.
"I kept comparing the marking from my photo to the ones on Facebook and that's when I saw Ozzie!
"The owners were over the moon when they got him back so it had a good end to the story."
Anne Walker, the store's customer trading manager, nominated Beth for an Asda award.
She said: "It's a lovely story with a happy ending. Beth, bless her, scoured all the lost and found pages on Facebook until she found Ozzie!
"It was great work from Beth. She not only keeps our customers and colleagues safe, but also any unexpected visitors!"