Dog Owner Reunited With Pet That Spent Three Days Trapped In Foxhole
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Luckily, Alan Whitton was reunited with Mitzi - a one-year-old Jack Russell - after digging her out and bringing her home to the family once more.
However, after getting chased off by another dog during a walk in the forest, Mitzi disappeared without trace.
It's every dog owner's worst nightmare.
The 49-year-old told Essex Live: "This is the first time she had ever gone missing, I call her my business partner because she is always with me, by my side.
"It was about 8.30am on Wednesday, during our morning walk when we came across a lady with two dogs, one of them was a Basset Hound wearing a Christmas jumper.
"The lead slipped out of the lady's hand and her dog chased Mitzi."
Despite searching frantically, Mitzi was nowhere to be seen, leading Alan to fear for the worst. He stayed around for hours searching, but eventually bad light and late time made him abandon for the day.
"I didn't want to go home without her.
"But it was late, we had to. It was a really cold night, I couldn't sleep, it was hellish, I thought she was going to die."
The next day, he returned to the search but still couldn't find her. After ten hours of searching, he decided to drop off some leaflets at nearby houses in the hope that someone would know something.
Alan recounted: "I broke down crying to anyone I spoke to about Mitzi, I was missing her so much."
After another restless night, Alan was back searching the following day.
By this point, he was starting to countenance the idea that he might never see Mitzi again. But then, another dog walker threw a lifeline.
Alan continued: "She said her dog had been sniffing around a fox hole, and it never sniffs fox holes, so I dropped everything and went to investigate."
Upon investigation, they heard a faint whimper from down the hole, and quickly sprang into action.
Alan said: "I needed shovels, the lady who called me kindly gave me one and I started digging.
"The people started turning up to help, it was amazing."
At just after 1pm that afternoon, owner and dog were reunited.
He added: "I just broke down, I was overwhelmed with joy and disbelief, I had started to lose hope.
"It was like a Christmas miracle, all the time it felt like a nightmare I couldn't wake up from."
Despite her ordeal, Mitzi was relatively unharmed. She had a few ticks removed, but not before she 'smashed her way through a Greggs vegan sausage roll'.
This ordeal has also taught Alan a lesson. He concluded: "Fearing I might have lost her taught me such a deep lesson, not to take anything for granted - to love big and to love hard.
"I would like to offer anyone who helped find Mitzi a free coaching session, as my way of giving back a debt I feel I owe.
"From the bottom of my heart I am so grateful and overwhelmed with the depth of compassion people have.
"We are capable of so much when we work together. It really has restored my faith in humanity.
"The prospect of not having Mitzi here at Christmas, I couldn't even contemplate."