Missing Barnstaple poodle Millie is found

Millie being checked over by vets after she was found. Pic: Wendy Hilling.

Millie being checked over by vets after she was found. Pic: Wendy Hilling. - Credit: Archant

Tearful reunion for disabled owner after beloved pet found hiding in a barn near Newton Tracey by determined searchers.

Millie the poodle has been found safe and well after marathon searches by local volunteers.

Millie the poodle has been found safe and well after marathon searches by local volunteers. - Credit: Archant

MILLIE the missing poodle has been found safe and well this afternoon (Wednesday) near Newton Tracey.

The three-year-old miniature poodle, missing for almost a week and feared lost, has been returned to her disabled Barnstaple owner Helen Hatch in a tearful reunion.

Millie was found by Wendy Hilling, who is herself disabled, together with fellow searcher Janet, in a barn at a farm some two miles from Alverdiscott where she went missing.

Helen and her family, who live at Newport, were distraught after the little dog slipped her collar while being brought back from the grooming parlour.

There has been a week of frantic searching by the family and dozens of volunteers who heard of the plight on Facebook, but all were beginning to fear the worst.


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“This is just the best Christmas present anyone could ever get, we are absolutely over the moon,” said a delighted and tearful Helen this afternoon.

“I just can’t thank her rescuers enough, all the people on Facebook and at Alverdiscott. The amount of people that helped has been remarkable, we have never known such kindness, the number of people that turned out for a little dog.”

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Wendy, who is a familiar sight to many as she rides her disability scooter along the Tarka Trail accompanied by her assistance dog Teddy, has spent hours and hours helping to search for Millie.

She and husband Peter were searching the village hall area today when a message came through that Millie had been spotted at a farm. It later transpired a vet on her rounds had spotted her and contacted Helen.

Janet joined them and the farmer told them he had spotted Millie about three times during the past few evenings, but had thought she belonged to someone who lived nearby.

They looked in the barn and were about to leave when something told Wendy to search in the hay: “It was a miracle. I pout a torch over the bale and among all the hay these two little green eyes looked at me. I just said ‘Oh Millie’ and then the tears started,” said Wendy.

“Janet got down on the floor and picked her up, then we both just hugged each other and sobbed over this dog. There wasn’t anything wrong with her, she is just a bit thinner.

“Once Millie has settled down we are going to see her and Helen.

“On Sunday I had put on Facebook that I was going to search and so many people turned up. It was heart-warming to think people cared so much about a dog they had never seen and a person they had never met.”

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