Snow place like home!

My pooch had an unlikely saviour!

Published by: Dawn Murden, Jean Jollands and Jemma Gillard
Published on: 7 March 2013

An inch of snow had fallen and outside was like a winter wonderland. But my three-year-old cairn terrier Maisie wasn't worried about getting her paws cold. She was ready for her walk.
I put Maisie's lead on and set off for the heath.
‘You love the snow,' I giggled, as Maisie bounced around. She was so mischievous and loved chasing after deer and wild pheasants.
Giggling away at Maisie, I wasn't paying attention to where we were walking. And suddenly,
I slipped on a frozen puddle.
‘Ouch!' I cried, as I flung my hands down to break my fall, losing hold of Maisie's lead. She shot off into the bushes.
‘Come back!' I yelled, pulling myself up. I was fine, but where had Maisie gone?
I called her name, but the forest was silent. Darkness was falling, so I walked to the National Trust Park warden's cottage. Together, we searched for an hour but there was no sign.
‘It's not looking hopeful,' he said sadly.
‘I can't leave her,' I said, fighting back tears. With no family living nearby, Maisie was my
only companion.
Back at the cottage, the warden's assistant handed me a phone number for a woman
called Helen.
‘She works for an organisation called DogLost that can help,' she said.
Back home, the house felt very empty.
‘Poor little mite,' I cried, looking at Maisie's bed. It was almost minus five degrees outside.
How would she survive the cold?
Worried sick, I couldn't sleep. The next morning, DogLost's volunteers threw themselves into the hunt. It was too treacherous for me, so I contacted the local radio and put
up posters instead.
After a week there was still no sign, and my hope faded.
Then, on the eighth day, Helen had news. A volunteer from Maidstone called Jenny was with her beagle Tiga, who was a trained tracker. Jenny had given Tiga Maisie's coat for a scent. A few hours later, Helen got a call to say that they'd found Maisie.
Shocked but thrilled, I drove to the heath to pick her up.
‘Maisie!' I cried, cuddling her.
‘Her lead snagged on a branch and she was trapped under a pile of snow,' Jenny explained. ‘The snow acted like a little igloo and kept her warm!'
At home, Maisie wolfed down her food and drunk three bowls of water.
‘Apart from weight-loss, she's fine,' the vet said when I took her for a check-up.
A month on, Maisie's back to normal, but people are still leaving treats on the doorstep for her.
I'm so grateful to everyone who helped me get her back.

Margaret Charles, 79, Middleton, Suffolk