A pet dog managed to burrow to safety after being trapped underground for three days – thanks to a friend’s dog who sniffed out its whereabouts.
Cavapoo Bear sparked a major rescue operation after he disappeared while out walking in Seaton Park in Aberdeen on Thursday.
Distraught owner Dasha Samatoina, 29, feared the worst when there was no sign of him after a day and began to suspect her pet had been kidnapped.
But since there were no sightings, canine behavior experts were convinced he was trapped underground, and fire and rescue crews, drone pilots, drainage companies and specialists with climbing gear were called in to help.
The bear was finally found on Sunday night – after a nine-year-old dachshund named Lola, who they went for a walk with on the night of his disappearance, led them to the hole he went into.
Its emotional owner, who only visited the town on weekends, said she was “hysterical and crying” after finding her five-year-old pet, which she feared she would “never see again”.
After taking advice over the phone from an experienced tracker, she said: “We were advised to let my girlfriend’s dog guide us as her hearing is different from ours and she could possibly hear him whining or barking.”
“And that’s exactly what happened. She led us to one of the holes in a spot we hadn’t looked at closely and she was very persistent in going down the hole.
“I just started screaming about it. I was hysterical and crying. The thought that he could be down there in the cold and dark terrified me.”
However, being advised to keep the noise to a minimum, she gently called out bear’s name until he was finally released.
She even put clothes in the hole so the animal could smell her and find the exit.
Ms Samatoina, from London, said: “I think he was a few meters down because he [bark] was pretty muted.
But I could feel him digging underground – I was just hoping he would go down the right path.”
The dog spent the night at Vets Now in Aberdeen, where he was treated for sand in his eyes and scratches on his nose and rehydrated as he became dehydrated after his nearly 60-hour ordeal.
Ms Samatoina said: “It’s amazing how strong he is, digging himself up after three days without food or water.” The vets were shocked that he was doing well.”
The lecturer was visiting a friend in town over the weekend when their dogs ran away around 9pm on Thursday.
It is believed that both animals ran into a rabbit or fox den, but since Bear is much larger than Lola, he got stuck and couldn’t come back.
Firefighters were called but were unable to locate the dog, and its owner called out on social media for someone with a drainage inspection camera.
Within minutes, hundreds of people and businesses offered help and support.
A thermal imaging drone, as well as climbing specialists, dog behavior specialists and other concerned members of the public were also called in to the rescue.
Ms Samatoina took to social media to thank everyone who rushed to Bear’s aid, saying it had been “an emotional three days”.
She added: “It was amazing how everyone came together, offered their support and put together an amazing team within 30 minutes.”
“Honestly, without everyone’s help, he would never have been found and reunited alive with me.”
She commended “the people of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire” for their “kind words of support and encouragement”.
She said, “It’s a testament to their kindness and willingness to do that for a dog.” [that he was found]. I am so grateful to everyone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Bear and his owner were expected to return home to “familiar surroundings” in London to fully recover from their ordeal.
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were alerted to reports at 4.01pm on Saturday 20 May that a dog had become stuck in a rabbit hole in Seaton Park, Aberdeen. The operations management mobilized a fire extinguisher on site. The emergency services were not required and left the crime scene.”
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