The owners of a nine-month-old Cocker Spaniel who was missing for four days after bolting on Green Gable have spoken of their joy and relief after she was found.
Malcolm Fallow was walking his dog JoJo last Wednesday when she bolted and ran off towards Great Gable.
A large search rescue was launched – led by West Cumbria Missing Person and Animal Search and Rescue – with the Lakes community rallying round to reunite the pup with her owners.
“I went from hope to despair and back again probably 20 times,” said Malcolm, 60, who spent four days looking for his dog before she was found on Sunday.
“It was a surprise to me because I didn’t realise how attached you get to pets. After searching for three/four days I thought I was never going to find her.
“When I saw her it was a huge relief and an unbelievable feeling. I was resigned to the fact I was not going to see her again. I had wrestled with how I was going to tell my family, including my three-year-old granddaughter who lives with her.”
Malcolm had been searching for JoJo for four days, spending the first three days travelling to and from their Durham home.
On the fourth day of searching, Malcolm pitched up a tent to enable him to search for longer.
Four days of searching
After four consecutive days and nights, it was beginning to take its toll on Malcolm. He walked into the Wasdale Head Inn on the fourth day of searching when he was greeted by Chris Davidson, part of the West Cumbria Missing Person and Animal Search and Rescue team.
“I came into the inn with no news and with no idea about what happened,” continued Malcolm.
He was informed of the news that JoJo had been found on Great Gable, with her wrapped around a rock.
“I had a 360-degree turn of emotions and I can’t quite remember it. It was such a release,” he said.
He fell to his knees in a ball of tears as he was reunited with the family dog after an agonising four days.
“It was horrendous,” he said.
“You have to remember that with COVID the options for staying in a Cumbria hotel weren’t available.
“I had to travel back to Durham for four consecutive days. On the last day, I took a tent to stay in Wasdale.
“There had been nothing happening, no sightings.
“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to drive away knowing you’ve left your dog in the hills.”
Malcolm and his wife Glenda heaped praise on the individuals who helped search for JoJo, with special thanks given to the West Cumbria Missing Person and Animal Search and Rescue team.
“I couldn’t believe it (when she was found), honestly and truly,” said Glenda, 59.
“By then I thought I know dogs can survive without water and food but I thought it was odd out of all the people up there how no one could have seen her.
“I thought someone would have heard her. I was in shock when she was found. I couldn’t believe I felt like this about something I would have (previously) said was ‘just a dog’.”
Chris Davidson, who led the search for West Cumbria Missing Person and Animal Search and Rescue team, said: “We found JoJo on Saturday up on Great Gable after a report came in that a dog had been heard barking and crying on Kirk Fell on the path leading up to Great Gable.
“We had 16 ground searchers and a dog and we starting making our way up Great Gable. Two walkers who were heading down commented to our guys that they heard barking and believed it was a dog in the middle of Great Gable.
“We managed to locate JoJo, who must have gone round a rock four times and got her lead stuck.”
They managed to free the puppy, who escaped with no injuries.
West Cumbria Missing Person and Animal Search and Rescue team thanked Tim Bosley for his contribution in helping to locate JoJo.