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Fishy ending to missing dog saga

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By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
Fishy ending to missing dog saga
Girlie was fostered by David last November from a rescue home in Romania

A LOST dog has been welcomed home to Newbie following two turbulent days on the loose — and a meticulous rescue mission involving community coordination and a long trail of smelly fish.

Girlie, a fostered two year-old Collie Jack Russell cross, went missing from home on Sunday after becoming startled.

Concerns grew when the young pooch didn’t return on Sunday night, with worries intensifying after owner, David Stothard, received a reported sighting of Girlie at a nearby railway line.

He said: “I was pretty worried as she’s a nervous wee dog. I’ve had her seven weeks now and she’s only just recently come round to me, I’ve never known a dog to be so nervous, so that was the main concern.”

After spending the day searching the area with his other dogs, David was urged by Lee Herron, who runs the Facebook rescue group Lost Dogs Dumfries and Galloway, to go against his instincts of shouting and calling for her as she explained that each lost dog “requires a different approach, depending on their background, personality and circumstances.”

Lee added: “Many people would think it’s a case of just “go and get her,” but that’s not the case – it would only flush her further out and with a busy road and railway nearby we couldn’t risk that.”

Her specialist pup-rescuing skillset quickly kicked in and a clever plan was hatched to lay a trail of sardines leading from the spot where she was last sighted to the house in Newbie.

David said: “I’d heard of laying scent trails before but never of the approach which Lee takes where you use sardines because of the strong smell and the fact that the oil seeps into the ground, so even if another animal comes along and eats it the smell is still there.”

And like magic, Girlie turned up at home on Tuesday night — albeit smelling strongly of fish. Lee said: “As predicted, Girlie, given the time and space, returned home herself.”

She added that locals were “fab with reporting sightings and allowing us to track her movements.”

A video posted to the Facebook group shows the heartwarming moment Girlie strolls up the patio, appearing startled at first but then running towards David wagging her tail as she realises she’s made it home safely.

Following the ordeal, David said he has decided to keep Girlie permanently, as he plans to “never let her out of my sight again.”

He added: “After that, if she went anywhere else I’d be terrified. Out of all the fosters I’ve had, she’s the one I’ve got most attached to anyway.”

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