BEST friends have been reunited as Woodly the pigeon - whose missing status sparked a social media frenzy - returned home from a week-long journey.

Paul Guy, 50, from Low Barugh, lost his beloved pet rock dove Woodly last week and spent the following days desperately searching for him.

Through pleas on Facebook - with the offer of a £100 reward - Paul was doing everything he could to get his friend home.

He told the Chronicle: “My wife took him to her grandad’s, who’s a pigeon breeder, for a check-up.

“A dog spooked him and he just flew up into the air.

“Rock doves have the best homing sense of all pigeons, but it was getting dark and they’re no good in the dark.”

Paul instantly jumped onto social media and made sure everyone was ‘raring for Woodly’.

After a few days the owner of a pet shop in Penistone got in touch to tell him about a pigeon they had rescued.

“It wasn’t Woodly but we’re looking after her anyway,” he added.

“I’m going to fix her wing and bring her back to full health.

“I’m not a pigeon breeder, I’m a dog lover really, but you don’t leave anyone behind, we didn’t with Woodly either.

“As we were looking after this new one Woodly rocked up out of the blue - he’s back home and safe with us now.

“You don’t get a happy ending very often.”

Paul hand-reared Woodly after finding him while on holiday in Dorset four years ago.

In that time the two have become ‘thick as thieves’, watching TV and going on trips together.

“I was taking pictures of the sunrise on holiday,” he said.

“I looked up and saw what I thought was a crisp packet falling from the sky.

“It was actually a baby pigeon - seagulls had taken him from the nest.

“I’ve nursed him ever since.

“I’ve never known anyone to have a pigeon live with them 24/7 like Woodly does with us.

“The windows are always open and he comes and goes as he pleases.

“We can be on walks five miles away and Woodly comes and walks with us, or goes for a little fly and joins up with us again.

“He talks to us, he walks up the stairs like he’s a human, gets in the shower with us and even gets in the bath and sits like a duck.

“He also loves feet and flat caps - you can’t write it.”

With the new pigeon joining the family now, Paul is wondering if love may be in the air for his two feathered friends.

“If she doesn’t fly away, she’s female so you never know there might be a love story there.

“Who knows, come next August we might have a load of them flying about the place.

“But I’m just glad to have Woodly back to be honest.

“He’s got us through lockdown - I’ve just had a hip and thigh replacement three weeks ago, I’ve been in comas since lockdown and all sorts and Woodly has been our saving grace throughout.

“He isn’t just a pigeon to us, he’s a friend more than a pet.”