WHEN Caroline Ralph’s much-loved pet dog Bertie went missing after running away while playing in the park, she thought she’d lost him forever.
So imagine her surprise when the pup was found through Facebook.
Caroline was walking Bertie in St James’ Park in Portsmouth when he got scared off by other dogs and ran away.
The 46-year-old sent out a search party and barely slept, staying up for hours to look for him. But it wasn’t until three weeks later that Bertie was finally found.
Caroline said: ‘I started giving up hope and then he was spotted in someone’s garden in Station Road in Copnor.
‘Thank God for Facebook. Someone saw it on Facebook and called me.’
Bertie was spotted on Facebook by a friend of a friend of Caroline’s who saw the post by the homeowner from Station Road, who said a dog had been found in her garden.
Caroline rushed to the house to find Bertie, a Chinese crested powder puff.
But it wasn’t easy. Caroline left out some dog food and a pair of her leggings and went back home.
Within four hours, she had a call from the homeowner to say he had come back.
‘I came running up to Station Road where he was spotted and he was sat there,’ she said.
‘I was shaking like a leaf. I went into the garden and didn’t speak to him because I didn’t want to scare him off.
‘I went up to the bathroom window and he could see me. He started howling.’
Caroline and the homeowner went downstairs and grabbed Bertie, shortly before the dog catcher arrived.
Caroline, of Eastfield Avenue in Southsea, said she was thrilled and grateful for support from the community.
‘It brought the community together,’ she said. ‘Lots of people were involved in the search. It’s a lovely ending.’
Caroline took flowers to the house where Bertie was found and to the lady who spotted the appeal on Facebook.
When Bertie returned, he had lost more than 3lb and was covered in ticks, so Caroline took him to the vet.
‘He was starving,’ she said. ‘I don’t think he had any food. If he did, it would have been things off the pavement.’
Caroline said she is thrilled she has got a happy ending.
‘I thought I was going to have to look for another dog. For the first week I couldn’t stop crying,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t go and see my friend who had a dog because it reminded me too much. Now, I’m just so happy to have him back.
‘I was giving up hope. It’s amazing – it’s a miracle.
‘ If it wasn’t for Facebook I don’t think I would have got him back.’