DOZENS of people spent days looking for a lost rescue puppy after she ran off during a walk through Stratton.
A passing lorry spooked five-month-old Cookie while owner Ann Kemp took her for a stroll down Ermin Street. The nervous Griffon cross escaped after running in and around Ann’s legs in a panic, twisting the lead and pulling her to the ground.
A passerby tried to stop the speedy pup but this spooked her again and she ran away even faster towards The Crown pub.
After reporting the Mauritius-born dog missing, Drove Vets alerted Ann to a sighting in the Rat Trap car park and further sightings came in from the fire station opposite and along the path to Stratton Woods.
The community-wide search and rescue effort continued as drivers stopped their cars to ensure the frightened escapee did not run into the road.
Ann searched for hours with husband David, daughter Sophie, friends, and strangers while being pelted by hail and rain before hearing Cookie had made it to Stanton Park.
The 41-year-old said: “It was a miserable day, it felt like a living nightmare. I don’t know where she got the energy to run so far.
“We camped in Stratton woods overnight with our car door open in case she came back. It was freezing but I kept thinking of how she’d be feeling in those conditions, and of all the amazing people who took time out of their weekend to help us.”
The next day, another sighting led to a search of solar panel fields in Stanton Fitzwarren. Russell Holland asked Daniel Adams to use his drone to look for Cookie.
Daniel said: “The drone was charged and ready so I went over to the park as quickly as I could. Within five minutes, I saw this blonde puppy in the middle of a field, it stood out from the grass.
“She could have gone halfway to Highworth so I was surprised to find her so quickly, running through furrows and hedges.
“I couldn’t believe it, and neither could the owners. I followed Cookie from the air for 35 minutes, tracking her for half a mile while the owner followed her on foot, she came within 10 metres of finding her but the dog ran in the opposite direction into woodland and I couldn’t see her any more.
“Being able to see her gave the owners confidence.”
Temperatures plummeted overnight and snow fell on Monday morning. Another drone search proved unsuccessful – then good news came in the afternoon.
Ann added: “Someone found Cookie behind a phone box. We were so worried and we thought she wouldn’t recognise us but she licked my face and only had a few chipped nails.
“This has restored my faith in humankind, thank you to everyone who helped.
“She’s a lot tougher than we thought, and less nervous now. She’s slept for most of the week and hasn’t left my side, though we’ve only gone out in the garden since – we’ll need a harness and a triple lead for our next walk to make sure she doesn’t get the chance to do this again!”
Daniel Adams is the Conservative candidate for St Andrews. Jason Mills is the Labour candidate, Bradley Williams is for the Green Party, and Beverly Elmer is independent.