A terrier who became stuck down a badger sett for 24 hours was saved after rescuers lured him out with a chicken sandwich.
Barney was on a walk with his owner Richard when ran off – and to Richard’s horror, he didn’t come back.
Richard frantically began searching the woodland before eventually finding the spot where his beloved pet had disappeared, Team Dogs reports.
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Firefighters attended the scene but were unable without the right permits to disturb a badger sett – and darkness was also falling.
Richard and his wife Sarah decided to camp out next to the area of tunnels overnight in case their beloved wire fox terrier re-emerged in the early hours.
When he failed to reappear, the RSPCA managed to get a permit to search the site, but permission was not granted until the following day.
In the meantime, the animal charity had to come up with another idea to lure Barney out – and suggested bringing familiar smells and sounds to the area.
So Richard and Sarah returned with Barney’s favourite – a chicken sandwich – as well as a couple of dogs from the street where they lived.
The innovative plan worked, with a hungry Barney popping up from one of the holes wagging his tail moments later.
He was taken to a vet for a check-up but was given the all-clear. to return home to Wootton, Northamptonshire.
Richard said: “Barney’s part of the family and we were beside ourselves when he disappeared for such a long time.
“It was a really stressful experience, but the reassurance provided by the RSPCA and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue really helped us to stay calm through that awful time.
“When Barney finally emerged from the badger sett nearly 24 hours later we were over the moon.
“He was so excited to see us, though very hungry and thirsty.
“We took him straight to the vet’s to be checked and thankfully he was none-the-worse for wear, other than picking up a few ticks along the way.
“Barney is a wire fox terrier and like all terriers, has quite a fascination with holes, so I’ve learnt to keep him well away from them.”
RSPCA Inspector Sarah Bate said: “I advised that familiar sounds and smells can often help, so the couple’s next-door neighbour’s dog was brought to the location, along with another dog, and a chicken sandwich was wafted around near the holes.
“All of a sudden, around lunchtime, there was a cheer as Barney reappeared out of one of the holes.
“I don’t know whether it was the chicken sandwich or Barney’s doggy friends that made the difference, but my thanks go to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue and the Northamptonshire Badger Group, for helping to reunite Barney with his owners.
“This was a terrible ordeal for both the dog and the family but thanks to everyone pulling together, this was a happy ending.”