Nottinghamshire family reunited with their support dog Willow

A Nottinghamshire family have been reunited with their eight-year-old border terrier who is a support dog for a girl with cerebral palsy and a boy with autism thanks to Facebook group, Beauty’s Legacy.

By Shelley Marriott
Monday, 16th May 2022, 10:57 am

Willow got separated from her owner after she chased a pheasant in a field in Bathley, Nottinghamshire, at around 1pm on Thursday, May 12.

Willow’s owner, Helen Mathers, contacted registered charity, Beauty’s Legacy, and Lisa Dean, who set up the charity, went to the area to search for her.

Willow is a support dog to 12-year-old girl Libby, who has cerebral palsy, and nine-year-old boy, Rowan, who is autistic.

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Lisa Dean, from Beauty's Legacy, with Willow after getting her safe

Lisa said: “Willow is a huge part of their lives so when she bolted so unexpectedly the owner, Helen, was frantic.

“On arriving, Helen was calling Willow but I advised that if she was disoriented or in flight mode she would not respond to her name and suggested she talked calmly and made noises like ‘what’s this?’ to gain her interest and coax her out.

"Speaking to local farmers we gained access to neighbouring fields and quickly established that there were steep ditches all around the area and she was likely to be laying low nearby.

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“One of our local volunteers joined us and in the following hours we accompanied the owner, and walked the perimeter, scenting the boundaries, rustling food bags and talking in a natural relaxed tone.

"We urged ground searchers and drone pilots to stay away to avoid further frightening her, although we had our licensed drone pilot with thermal equipment, Martin Murphy, on standby in case she suddenly left the area and we needed him.

“We kept someone rooted to the spot she ran from, as the majority of loose dogs will return to that spot when it quietens down and the sun goes down.

“After five hours, just as the sun went in, she popped out and bolted back to the spot she ran from.

“Everyone remained calm and the owner of the land scooped her up.

"I popped my slip lead over her and she was safe.”

For advice on what to do if your dog is lost visit www.beautyslegacy.co.uk or www.facebook.com/groups/beautyslegacy.