Family's joy as beloved dog returns home after week-long search
- Credit: Archant
A beloved dog whose name was on everybody's lips after going missing has returned home to the delight of his family.
The Mower family, from Ashill, were left fearing the worst after their cocker spaniel, Murphy, suddenly bolted during a walk on Friday, July 9.
The 19-month-old took off into a field with such force that Mark Mower, 38, was sent flying from his bicycle.
By the time Mr Mower clambered back to his feet, Murphy had vanished and did not respond to his name.
"Mark came home with his leg bleeding and told me what happened," said his wife, Nicola.
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"We headed back out and called his name, but there was so sign of him at all."
Realising they needed extra eyes, Mrs Mower posted on Facebook asking friends and family to help - and the local effort to find Murphy spiralled in the ensuing days.
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The runaway pooch became the talk of the village as hundreds of strangers joined the search.
The Mowers even benefitted from the assistance of Annie Hart from Dog Lost, a volunteer group which reunites missing pets with their owners.
"I have never seen so many people together in Ashill in my life," added Mrs Mower, 33.
"I didn't know most of them, but everybody knew our dog.
"We found paw prints, but we didn't know whether they were Murphy's. It was heartbreaking for our children, Millie and Toby."
By Thursday evening (July 15), Murphy had been missing for almost a week and hope was fading.
But as Mr and Mrs Mower chatted outside with neighbours, a familiar bundle of fur was spotted in the distance.
"Someone said 'that looks like Murphy over there,'" said Mrs Mower.
"We didn't want to scare him, but we didn't want to lose him either. We grabbed some food and he came running over.
"Everybody started coming out of their houses, asking 'is that Murphy?' It was pure joy, and a complete miracle."
An elated Millie, 7, and Toby, 4, were woken by the sound of their best friend returning home, while Murphy wondered what the fuss was all about.
Their dog now a local celebrity, the Mowers are simply grateful to everyone who helped.
Mrs Mower added: "This shows Ashill is a proper village where everybody cares.
"We have made friends for life from this."