Four-year-old beagle Millie escaped from her garden in Peterhead after being scared by a firework on Bonfire Night.

Owners Jon Mitchell, 41, and Jonathan Stephen, 27, used heat sensors, drones and midnight barbecues throughout the Blackhill fields to lure her back.

On Wednesday she was spotted in a field and they were finally reunited.

The pair were travelling home from a holiday on November 5th when their dog sitter phoned in a panic.

Millie was in the garden before the fireworks were due to start, but one exploded an hour before the legal curfew began and spooked her.

She escaped through a small gap in the gate and was later spotted in the Blackhills.

“It’s such a vast rural area, it was going to be very difficult to get a sighting of Millie,” said Jon.

For the next 11 days, friends and family were out searching every hour of the day.

“One evening we made a 12-litre watering can of gravy with mashed fish and garlic oil trying to lay a scent down a four-mile track road for Millie, just hoping she would seek it out,” said Jon.

The couple also borrowed a campervan to sleep in the area and hung their clothes outside to lay a familiar scent.

“It was horrendous, it was all morning and all night,” said Jonathan.

“It was just constantly being on edge and wondering where she was.”

Despite hundreds of well-wishers trying to help on social media, they still faced threats and homophobic abuse.

Jon said one man called him claiming to have Millie and demanded £1000 for her safe return.

“If you lose your dog these people are out preying on you hoping you’re able to send them money while you’re feeling vulnerable,” he said.

“But almost all of the sightings were genuine.”

Finally on Wednesday a woman spotted the beagle in a field four and half miles away and Jon drove out immediately.

“I happened to look out the window and I could see Millie in the field sniffing along the fence line,” he said.

He tried to approach her but the spooked dog bolted away.

“She was terrified, she looked like she thought I was going to murder her,” he said.

He called and chased after the young beagle and two other men in the field joined him in the pursuit.

One man spotted Millie among the bushes and Jon gently called her.

A drone captured Jon and Millie reuniting

“She sniffed me and then she recognised me,” he said.

“When she realised who I was, she started wagging her tail and walking forward. So I opened up the brambles and she jumped up into my lap.”

The couple were thrilled to finally reunite with Millie after so many days had passed.

“It was overwhelming,” said Jonathan.

“I came home from work and just started crying because we couldn’t believe she was actually back.”

Jon added: “If it wasn’t for noisy fireworks, we wouldn’t have been on an 11-day adventure, feeling the stress and anxiety around having to find our dog.”

He advised dog owners in similar situations not to organise a search as it could encourage a scared dog to run further away.

“We had moments of hope and moments of thinking we’re never going to see her again,” he said.

“Millie means the world to us, she’s part of our family.”

Original Article