Posted: Sun 27th Aug 2023

Owners of Olly, the Springer who went missing for 4 days, organise fundraiser to thank rescuers and the community

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Aug 27th, 2023

The thankful owners of a Springer Spaniel, missing for four days in Hawarden, have organised a fundraiser to thank the organisations who were key to their pet’s rescue and the many members of the community who helped in a desperate search.

In a heartwarming display of community spirit, Olly, a 13-year-old springer suffering from Addison’s disease and vestibular disease, was found alive after four days of exhaustive search efforts by local residents, charity groups, and volunteers.

The desperate search began when Olly bolted into the back of the woodlands on Gladstone playing fields on the evening of Friday, August 18.

“Fantastic off lead, Olly often runs off down there to have a sniff around. I had an instant drop in my stomach knowing this time was different,” his owner Claudia McKinlay said.

“The way he ran panicked me as it was as if he had been spooked. I ran down shouting him and he did not come back to me,” she added.

In a state of panic and worry, Claudia quickly asked others if they had seen Olly. “I was so worried because it was already 7pm and knew we didn’t have long before dark; the weather was drizzly and soon got heavier as the search went on, which worried me further,” she explained.

Olly’s medical condition means he requires daily medication. As family members and local residents searched, darkness approached and the rain started to pour.

Word spread on social media about Olly’s disappearance. “The response was overwhelming, with hundreds of shares, messages, and suggestions pouring in,” Claudia recalled.

“Those offering to search would message and comment asking where best to look, with other suggestions or where they had already been. It was extremely helpful and is an amazing tool in situations such as this,” she observed.

“Strangers, friends, neighbours, charity groups, all joined in the search for missing Olly across parks and woodland,” she said.

The search for Olly continued into the weekend with more and more people getting involved.

Special permission was also sought from Hawarden Airport so drones could be used to help in the search for the missing pooch.

At one point, Claudia and her boyfriend Scott were searching through the Dell at the back of Hawarden High School when they met local resident Philip Higginbottom, who had been scouring the woodland.

“He had cuts and scratches down his arms and legs from going through nettles and brambles. He told us how he had been searching for two days and everywhere he had been, which really brought a tear to our eyes,” Claudia recounted.

“We couldn’t believe the effort that others were going to, to find Olly,” she said.

The extensive search efforts included Canine Capture and Lost Dogs Capture Team, two dog rescue organisations, which were tagged in a Facebook post by a concerned resident.

Mazzy from Canine Capture offered advice, support, and coordinated searches in difficult wooded areas and badger sets. The organisation also set up cameras and returned the following day to continue the search.

[Olly after he was found by Tasha from LOST DOG Capture Team CIC along with Dawn and Kaye from Canine Capture UK 247]

While Claudia and Scott were searching around the golf club in Hawarden on Monday, they received a call from Tasha of the Lost Dogs Capture Team saying Olly had been found.

“The phone signal is poor,” Claudia observed, “the line cut off immediately after she had said he had been found, so we did not know if he had been found alive.”

“As it was day four with no tablets, we didn’t know if he would have made it,” she noted.

“We both broke down in tears and quickly made our way to where she was. As we arrived at the edge of the field, we had another call to say he was alive but needed a vet urgently.”

“This was a mixture of pure elation that he had been found but worry that he was unwell,” she remarked.

Olly was exhausted and dehydrated from his ordeal and spent the night at the vets.

The following day Olly returned home “feeling a little bit sorry for himself, but he was straight back onto his favourite seat.”

Claudia said Olly is now doing “really well, We didn’t think we would ever see him running around and his tail wagging again. Now he has his strength and energy back and we couldn’t be happier.”

“It was a massive effort from so many, which we could have never expected. It restored faith in the community and I feel so lucky to live in an area full of lovely caring people,” she expressed.

“These volunteer groups are so important. They have all the equipment and knowledge of dog behaviour, so they know where to look and what to do,” she emphasized.

“This is so critical in these situations as your dog may not act the way you would expect and go into survival mode.”

“They hide and may not even come out to their owner calling them.”

“I hope that others never have to be in this situation but if they are, I would feel so much more at ease knowing these volunteer groups have the expertise and are out doing everything they can,” she said with gratitude.

Claudia says they want to raise as much funds as they can for Canine Capture.

“We want to make sure that they are able to carry on their work and save other dogs like Olly,” she said determinedly.

“They need funds for cameras, traps, pet food, training, vehicles, and to keep them on the road.”

“They are amazing selfless women, who don’t want any thanks other than to be able to carry on their work,” she shared with admiration.

She said: “The public can help by donating to the charity or coming down to our fundraiser, where we will be taking donations and holding a raffle where all proceeds will go to Canine Capture.”

“Ewloe Social Club have been so helpful in getting a fundraiser set up for Saturday 2nd September and have allowed us to use the club and make sure all proceeds go to the Canine Capture charity.”

“Ewloe Social Club are also partnered with Deeside P.E.T food bank, so their team will also be taking pet food donations at the event to help those struggling to feed their pets and make sure they don’t go hungry.”

“Those attending the event can expect a disco, and some fun games and prizes to raise money.”

“However, we want to make sure it is a celebration and thanks to everyone that has helped.”

“There will be a little visit from Olly himself so he can give thanks, and we are hoping Tasha and the team can make it as long as there are no dogs needing their help.”

“Everybody is welcome, so please come down to support and celebrate with us if you can,” Claudia invited.

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