Middleton: Dog survives astonishing eight days lost in the snow
PUBLISHED: 09:45 28 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:45 28 January 2013
WHEN Maisie the Cairn Terrier vanished for eight days on Dunwich Heath in sub-zero temperatures, deep snow and bitterly cold winds, her owner feared the worst.
As the search went on, the mercury plummeted to -15C in parts of Suffolk and it seemed hopes of finding her alive had all but gone.
But, miraculously, Maisie was discovered after more than a week in the wilderness - freezing cold but apparently unscathed, with her lead caught on a tree, tethering her to the spot.
The three-year-old hound has now been reunited with her owner Margaret Charles in Middleton, and tucked up in her warm basket.
Maisie had panicked and run off after Mrs Charles slipped on black ice while walking her on Dunwich Heath on January 16.
After unsuccessfully calling out for Maisie, Mrs Charles, who was left bruised after the fall, was forced to seek help to find her.
She said: “Maisie is always walked on a retractable lead because I’m scared she’ll run off and not come back but I let go of the lead when I fell and she ran off immediately.
“It was already getting dark so I ended up going back to the coastguard cottages and asking for help from the National Trust.
“A chap came out with me but it was dark and we couldn’t see very well so we had to stop.”
Overnight temperatures plummeted and a worried Mrs Charles, who lives in The Street, said the search resumed the following day with groups of people coming from all over to look for Maisie.
“The weather didn’t get any better, in fact it got worse, but everyone just kept hoping for the best.
“I rang vets and the dog warden but nothing happened and I started thinking ‘how will she survive?’”
A few days later Mrs Charles was contacted by Jenny Brown, a volunteer with Dog Lost which helps trace missing dogs, saying she was bringing her tracker dog Tigger up from Kent to join the search.
Mrs Charles, who has had Maisie since she was nine months old, said: “Jenny came the following day on Thursday and Tigger sniffed Maisie’s coat to get her scent and a few hours later I had a call to say that Tigger had found her.
“I was trembling and crying and didn’t know what to do with myself but managed to get into my car and drive to where Maisie was.”
“She was found not far from where I fell but her retractable lead had got caught a tree meaning she couldn’t walk any further but the main thing was she was okay.”
Maisie was taken to the vets and given a clean bill of health.
Mrs Charles added: “Maisie keeps putting on the sad puppy eyes but we’re not going to overdo anything.”
Dog Lost volunteer Jenny Brown said: “It was worth coming up from Kent to help find a missing dog.
“A lot of searches had already been carried out in a difficult area and in difficult conditions with the snow and temperatures.
“I think Margaret thought she wouldn’t see Maisie ever again and she took some convincing that we had found her and she was absolutely fine.”