It's every owners nightmare, losing your dog on a walk - even worse, on a mountain hike! For Rachel Nixon, this was unfortunately a reality after Ester, the two year old cockerpoo, slipped on their descent of Ben Chonize in Perthshire.
Rachel, doing what every dog owner would do, started her search and continued throughout the week walking more than 80 miles of every possible route, even buying a BBQ to see whether she could entice Ester with the smell of bacon and sausage. She enlisted the help of local farmers, fellow walkers and even a drone was used to fly over the area to see if it could find the missing cockerpoo. After a week of no news and endless searching Rachel was beginning to fear the worst, that she would never see Ester again.
She said: "It was a difficult and slippy section and the only way the dog would continue was if I took her off the lead.
"But as she did she slipped and I can only think she saw something, possibly a bird or a rabbit, and bolted.
"My hopes were fading.
"I'd been back every single day, climbed up and down every possible route but there was no sign of Ester.
"I covered about 80 miles in the time she was missing, walking the Munro and asking anyone I passed if they had seen anything."
Close to giving up hope nearly two weeks later, Rachel received a voicemail from one of the farmers, "a very well spoken Englishman", who was convinced he had found Ester on his farm. Completely ecstatic, Rachel made the one hour drive up to the farm - trying to stay as calm as possible, which must have been hard! We can only imagine Rachel's excitement when she finally got there to be reunited with her beloved pooch. We're sure Ester was just as excited to see her owner!
She said: "She had lost two-and-a-half kilos in weight, but, from her smell, the farmer thought she had found a dead sheep which helped her to survive."
Ester is, of course, receiving plenty of pampering and love as she recovers from her ordeal and minor injuries and Rachel's first thing on her to do list is to buy a GPS collar as to not face a similar ordeal again.
Rachel was overwhelmed by the help and support she received from everyone that spent time searching for Ester. We couldn't be happier that the two have been reunited!
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