December 9 2013 Latest news:
Reunited ' husband and wife ' Patterdale terriers Bear ( red collar ) and Doodle. Bear dramatically traced Doodle trapped underground in a rabbit hole after she was missing for three days. Pictured with owners Delia Robinson, right and Tilly Hadfield.Photo: Steve Adams
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Saturday, August 17, 2013
A dog called Bear has been hailed a hero after he tracked down a neighbour’s pet terrier which had been trapped in a collapsed rabbit hole for 36 hours.
Hopes were fading for Patterdale terrier Doodle who had disappeared in woodland near her Norfolk village home.
Her owner, Delia Robinson, 53, of Church Road, Stratton Strawless, had put out frantic appeals asking for information, including to the RSPCA and police and spoken to neighbours in the hope of tracking down her pet – but all to no avail.
A search of woods behind her home had also proved fruitless and she was beginning to run out of possible avenues to bring Doodle safely home. So, in a last-ditch attempt to try and locate the seven-year-old, she turned to the internet for advice on tracing lost terriers, discovering other terriers were often good at tracing their fellow breed.
And as luck would have it, the Patterdale terrier next door, Bear, was more familiar with Doodle than most, having fathered five puppies with her. So Mrs Robinson spoke to Bear’s owner Jo Hadfield, who let her take Doodle’s mate in the hope he might be able to pick up her scent and provide some clues to her whereabouts.
Sure enough, shortly after entering the woods with Mrs Hadfield’s daughter Tilly, 14, Bear began tugging on the lead and led them to a particular corner of earth and roots where he began barking.
Listening in closely, Mrs Robinson heard the noise she had been longing to hear – the faint sound of Doodle whining, buried in a rabbit hole after her trip out hunting had gone horribly wrong.
She said: “I thought it was her, but it was so faint. She could hardly bark because she had lost her voice, but I was over the moon to hear it. She was so deep down and I thought, ‘how am I going to get her out?’.”
Mrs Robinson, Mrs Hadfield and Tilly got spades and began digging frantically to try and release the trapped dog, freeing her half an hour later.
Mrs Robinson said Doodle was recovering well following her ordeal, although she still could not bark much. And Bear has been well rewarded for his heroic deed – receiving a steak for his efforts.
Mrs Robinson added: “I think he is a hero because Doodle would almost certainly have died if he had not found her. He definitely saved her life.”