A family was living in a nightmare when their puppy went missing and they began receiving suspicious calls at night.
Having a pet go missing is a heartbreaking experience, which is why the family was devasted when Willow, a whippet, wandered out of the front door of their home.
The owner, a 53-year-old paramedic named Gary Balderston had gone out to have lunch with a friend when he accidentally forgot to lock his front door.
Minutes later Willow had wandered outside and was captured on CCTV meandering around neighbours’ houses before heading towards Elm Grove in Murston.
According to TeamDogs, Gary and his wife Nicky spent days searching for the pooch, staying out late at night and knocking on doors, but to no avail, Willow hadn't yet returned.
Her disappearance prompted fears from the couple that their beloved pet had been stolen, with their suspicions amplified after a series of unusual late-night calls from a man claiming to have Willow before hanging up.
However, this tale had a happy ending after the family received a call from a woman named Marina who had spotted a dog found poster outside a home just under a mile away in Peel Drive, Murston.
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An 80-year-old resident on the road had taken in a soaked Willow and cared for her before putting out the poster in his front garden, which was luckily seen.
Willow returned to her family home to be reunited with her siblings.
Nicky Balderston said: "We got a call from the wonderful Marina about a lost dog and we were so excited to find out it was Willow.
"She was found by a man outside with no collar on and soaked. She's a bit skinny but in good condition.
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"I'm so happy she's back and so are her brother and sister, as you can see in the video.
"Words cannot express my thanks to everyone who helped over the past three weeks."
Nicky and Gary wanted to personally thank Nicky McCarthy from DogsLost, Sue Culmer from re-home animal rescue, Tina Towers and Tracey Wallace for helping them design posters and pictures for the Where's Willow Facebook page they set up.
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They also wanted to thank Marina for realising Willow was safe and getting in touch with them.
The pair have said they will continue to keep the Facebook page running, which has hundreds of likes, but change the name to Willow's Army and use it to help other people who have lost their beloved pets.
You can visit the page here.
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