TWO dogs, trapped for eight days in a tiny hole underground, have been reunited with their ‘overjoyed’ owners.
Jack Russell terriers Hattie and Toast had Katie Fuller and her daughter Lucy Stammers ‘beside themselves’ with worry.
At first, Katie, 47, reassured 22-year-old Lucy that the dogs were microchipped and they would get a phone call to say they had been found.
But as the days stretched on, with no sign of the pets, she feared they had been stolen.
Then Katie was shocked to discover the pair had got stuck down a hole not far from their home in Danbury, Essex.
Hattie, nine, and her daughter Toast, six, were dug out by a fire crew, exhausted and thin but ‘elated’.
Katie said: ‘It’s brilliant to have them both home.
‘It was an awful time without them — as the days went by, I was searching on websites to see if anybody had taken them and tried to sell them.
‘But they are elated to be out and to be back with us — it’s wonderful.
‘We have a field behind our house, where the dogs love to play when we’re mucking out [horses].
‘They’ll rabbit around in the hedges, but they never catch anything. They’re more pet terriers, as opposed to working terriers.
‘Then when we go back to the house, usually we call them and they come trotting up the garden path, and that’s that.
‘But on that evening, we called them and called them, and nothing.’
A search party was organised and the whole village got involved.
Katie said: ‘Everybody in Danbury was just fantastic. They were sharing posts on Facebook, putting posters up, trying to do their bit.
‘We were a big team — we ended up with over 1,000 people in the Facebook group helping out and following our search.
‘Lucy was going into our field every night, because she really believed they were out there.
‘Meanwhile, I was doing barbecues every night — not to eat, but in the hope that they might smell it and come home.’
The dogs were eventually found when Lucy heard Toast whimpering.
Katie said: ‘On the evening we managed to find them, Lucy was out collecting up the wildlife cameras we’d put out, and she heard Toast barking.
‘They were in a tiny hole, just a metre underground — literally 100 metres from the back of our field.
‘We’re quite nervous to let them out now but they’re just so happy to be home.’