Dedicated dog owners who feared their dog was stolen after running away on a walk and missing for 10 days became pet sleuths – ultimately hunting her down with the help of a doorbell security camera.
Office manager Meghan Savage, 29, was devastated when two-year-old Pomeranian Aurora, one of her three companion dogs, went missing after being frightened by another dog when her brothers took her for a walk .
Determined to get her back, teaming up with her husband, Mark, 29, an occupational health advisor, they even camped two nights in a tent in the hope of finding her, before using a home security device and a carefully set trap to bring back an end to their stray dog’s adventure.
Reliving the moment Aurora was finally found, Meghan, from Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland, who also has two Yorkshire Terriers, Coco, 10, and Belle, four, said: ‘When I saw his tail bushy appear on the doorbell video, I wanted to cry.
“We were so worried and feared the absolute worst, so finally finding her looks like a miracle.”
The ordeal began on September 23, when Aurora was taken for a walk by Meghan’s brothers.
She said: “Coco and Belle are both older puppies and very lazy, but we feel guilty about leaving Aurora at home all day while we work because she ends up climbing the walls.
“So sometimes my brothers come and take her for a walk.”
But, unfortunately, on this occasion, Aurora ran away when she was frightened by another dog.
Meghan said: ‘I got home at 4 p.m. and got a call from one of my brothers saying Aurora slipped her collar off and ran away after another dog barked at her.
“She had sprinted at least a mile in the countryside and he didn’t know where she was.”
Hopping into the car, Meghan headed straight for the local field where her beloved dog was last seen.
She said: “Mark joined me there after I left work earlier to help look for her.
“We stayed there until midnight, calling it by name and walking around. I was devastated.
“We got home and the next morning we went looking again. I couldn’t bear to go home that night, so we camped out in the field.
Camping in a tent for two nights, before spending the rest of the week sleeping in their car on the edge of the fields, the couple scrambled to find Aurora.
“It was too cold to sleep outside,” Meghan said. “But I couldn’t leave the area. I have never tried so hard to find something in my life.
Throughout the week, the elusive Pomeranian has been sighted in the area several times, but no one who saw her was able to catch her.
Meghan said: “Part of me was afraid that someone would see it and instead of handing it over they steal it.
“It was always in the back of my head.”
Over the days, Meghan became increasingly worried about her beloved dog.
She said: “Everyone who was looking for her saw her at one point or another, but she ran away before we could even get close.
“There were up to 20 people a day in the research team helping us from nearby towns.
“At one point we found a pile of bones and I feared the worst. “
She added, “Mark and I took them to the vet, but luckily they were identified as rabbit bones.
“After that, with the different sightings, we realized that Aurora was running between three different fields, so we decided to set a trap in the area where she had been spotted the most.”
By setting up a large cage in the corner of the field, inside the trap, Meghan left the salmon behind by a metal rod which, when stepped on, triggered the door to close.
She said, “I cut up my clothes and hung them up in the corner so she could smell me. I hardly have any clothes left because I just cut out everything I could get my hands on.
“By the time we set the trap on October 2, no one had seen Aurora for four days.
“We were worried about ourselves.”
Knowing that Aurora was unlikely to appear while people were in the field, the couple returned home, leaving a Ring security camera set to start recording when it detected movement.
Meghan said: “It was agony. Every few hours my phone flashes with a notification from the camera, but I’m looking and it’s just a walker passing by.
“The next day, I had just got out of the shower when I noticed I had another video message to watch.”
She added: “I had no hope, but when I clicked on the video my heart jumped to see my little furball sniffing around the cage.
“She walked in and there were 10 solid seconds where I was just praying for her to trigger the trap.”
“When the cage door finally closed, I took action.”
With Mark returning from a grocery store, Meghan met him in the aisle.
She said, “We just threw all the food on the grass and went to the field.
“When we got there, Aurora was moaning in the cage, her feet were all blood from being in the wild for 10 days.”
By bringing her home, the adventurous pooch finally reunited with his four-legged family, Coco and Belle.
Meghan said: “The other two were really excited to see her, but I think she was still in shock.
“She lost about half a kilo, which is a lot because she weighed only three kilos at the start, so we feed her little and often to regain her strength.
She added: “She screams and cries a lot at night, which we think could be trauma, but we wrap her in a lot of love and hugs.
“We now call her Aurora the Explorer, after the cartoon character Dora, because she is our little adventurer.
“We’re just going to make sure it doesn’t end up on other expeditions.”
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