Beagle Rocco was out on Cockleroy when he ran off. He was eventually picked up by police in Livingston on Tuesday much to the delight of his frantic owners, Sue and Brian Friel and their sons Jack (13) and six-year-old Aiden -and the hundreds of people who had been following his story online.
Sue said: “A friend of ours was helping us out and took Rocco for a walk. They let him off the lead and turned their back for 30 seconds and he was gone.”
Sue began contacting people who might be able to help spread the word, including Helen Brown, of Walking Woofers, who provided walkie talkies for the searchers, and Claire Stanes, of Lothlorien, whom Sue knew from Rocco’s puppy training classes.
Claire said: “Because my Facebook page has such a huge following, the Friels asked if I could help and share the photo and information.
‘‘I’ve also been helping to co-ordinate the searches because I had better knowledge of the area than they did.
‘‘Rocco was eventually found in Livingston - but he went on quite a journey before he got there. There were sightings in Linlithgow as well as Philpstoun, Bridgend and Dechmont before he was found. I believe he was picked up by police - he should have been handcuffed!”
A whole host of tactics were used in a bid to bring Rocco home - including search parties, barbecueing sausages, and even setting humane traps. His owners also camped out at Beecraigs.
The photo was shared on Facebook, meaning the search spread all around the world, with dog trainer contacts from Spain, Sweden and Germany all messaging Claire with advice about how to track Rocco down.
Claire added: “The Beagle Club also got involved and helped with searches. It really is heartwarming so many people wanted to help.”
Sue, of Linlithgow, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who helped. A woman was even going to drive up from Kent this weekend with a tracker dog to try and find him. He’s 21 months, a teenager really, so it was probably fun to begin with before he got scared. His paws are so sore, and his eyes were so red. He’s been a very lucky dog.”