An ecstatic animal lover has hailed the “miracle” comeback of a beloved pet dog trapped in a badger sett on the edge of Market Harborough for an incredible four days.
Penny Farnsworth, 55, said she was “overjoyed” after being reunited with adventurous Bob the Lakeland terrier after his astonishing ordeal.
And she admitted she was starting to fear the worst for Bob, who’s she’s been looking after for her sister Joanna and her husband Dave, when he suddenly reappeared where he went missing.
This afternoon a much-relieved Penny told the Harborough Mail: “It’s an absolute miracle.
“We prayed and prayed that Bob would be found safe and sound.
“And all of our prayers have been answered!
“It’s been a horrible few days – but all’s well that ends well,” said Penny, of Market Harborough.
The amazing doggy drama began at about 5.30pm last Saturday (May 14).
“I’d taken Bob, who’s five years old, out for a walk by myself by the new estate off Harvest Road and near the canal in Market Harborough.
“I’ve been caring for him for Joanna and Dave, who live in Derbyshire and have been away on holiday in France,” said Penny, the treasurer at Harborough Community Church on Bath Street.
“As soon as I let Bob off the lead he just shot off.
“He disappeared in a split second into a bunch of nettles off to my left.
“I called out and shouted his name but there was nothing, it was just quiet – it was terrible.
“There’s a massive badger sett in there and I’m sure Bob went straight down there.
“I called a close friend and my sister in France straight away to tell them what had happened.
“Joanna was obviously shocked but very kind and calm and told me to keep calling his name.
“But there was no sign of him, Bob had just vanished into thin air,” recalled Penny as she gave Bob a big hug and cuddled up to him at home.
Penny put out an appeal on Facebook – and was amazed by the fantastic response.
“People immediately came out from all over Market Harborough to help us look for Bob, it was just awesome,” she said.
“I can’t thank them enough for their huge support.
“I more or less set up camp up there when I wasn’t working, we were determined to find poor Bob,” said Penny.
“I was becoming more and more anxious as time wore on – and the fire service were even due to come out to put special cameras down the sett to look for him.
“But then we got the miracle we’d all been praying for when Bob reappeared out of nowhere at about 7pm on Wednesday night (May 18).
“A couple were out there walking their dog along there when he suddenly ran out of undergrowth at the exact spot where I’d lost him.
“They took a picture of the phone number around his neck and called my nephew Jonny in Derbyshire.
“He immediately rang me – I just couldn’t believe it.
“So I dashed to meet up with the couple, who were brilliant, as they were waiting with Bob by the roundabout on Peter Callis Way for me,” said Penny.
“He was covered in mud and he was stinking but I gave him the biggest hug ever.
“I had tears of joy, I was just so overwhelmed, relieved and overjoyed to see Bob again.
“They were some of the best moments of my whole life,” declared emotional Penny.
“Bob was obviously very hungry and dehydrated and he’d lost a lot of weight so he must have managed to wriggle out of the hole.
“He was scuffed around his back feet as well but otherwise he was unhurt thank goodness.
“Bob’s a daft boy, a real little tinker, and full of fun – but I never thought he’d run straight off and vanish for four days!
“Joanna and Dave are coming back to pick him up tomorrow (Saturday).
“And I won’t be letting him back off the lead until then,” vowed Penny.
“He’ll be staying right by my side where I can keep an eye on him.
“We love him to bits and the last few days have been horrible, we were starting to prepare for the worst.
“But Bob’s back with us in one piece, he’s fine and I’d like to salute everyone who’s shared our story and got behind us.
“Our community in Market Harborough and beyond has been absolutely fantastic, I can’t thank them enough.”