Missing Harpenden dog comes home after nine day search

Charlotte Fowler with Maggie in Harpenden

Charlotte Fowler with Maggie in Harpenden - Credit: Photos supplied

A rescued dog which went missing for nine days has been reunited with her very relieved owner who camped out at night and managed to coax her back with gravy bones.

Three days after being rehomed in Harpenden from the Dogs Trust Maggie, a black and tan crossbreed, was taken by her new owner, Charlotte Fowler, to see her mum in Blackmore End. But she suddenly escaped through a fence.

An appeal to locate the missing pooch was launched via social media, Dogs Trust Harefield and the Herts Advertiser.

Charlotte said: “To begin with we searched all over Blackmore End and surrounding areas including the golf course and all the woods.

“My partner and I even searched the woods at 2am one morning as we thought we’d seen her, but later found out it was a fox – Maggie looks like one and even has a white tip on her tail!”

Friends and family joined the hunt as reports came in of Maggie being spotted in nearby Kimpton.

Charlotte said: “Unfortunately due to her background and being nervous of people she kept bolting whenever anyone tried to call her over.

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“We tried all sorts of things, from leaving clothes, blankets, food and toys scattered up the road, to sitting in the fields and woods with disposable BBQs cooking bacon and sausages to entice her.”

While bowls of dried dog food and water left halfway up her mum’s driveway were being emptied during the night, she was unsure whether her missing pet or a passing fox was responsible.

Charlotte explained: “We couldn’t work out if the paw prints were hers.”

One night her partner slept out in his car in front of the driveway and saw Maggie approaching the food at about 3am, “but a cat startled her just when she went to settle down, and off she went”.

So Charlotte tried a different tack.

She explained: “I decided to camp out on the inside of the fence, right by a hole, and made sure I was well hidden. I had a board ready to block it and blocked off the garden so she had no where to run.

“We set up all the food including a special dispenser stuffed with meat. I put all her blankets and bed out, and stuffed the corners with gravy bones.”

Hiding nearby, Charlotte heard something walking on the gravel later that night.

She said: “I could hardly breathe through fear of scaring her off. Suddenly I saw her head come through the hole, then she squeezed the rest of her body through and started tucking into the food.

“I pushed the board across, then called her. She came running over for a cuddle.

“We were so pleased and relieved to finally find her. My worse fear was that she’d been hit by a car or eaten poison.

“We can now look forward to giving Maggie the new life she deserves.”

Charlotte thanked everyone who helped search for Maggie, who has since been checked over by a vet and apart from losing a couple of kilos, is in good condition.