Big Ernie returns home after Stevenage community join the search
PUBLISHED: 18:26 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:57 08 January 2019
A family have said they have been "blown away" by the response to a missing appeal to find their beloved sausage dog, who was found in just over 24 hours after the community joined in the search.
Around 40 people joined the search for Ernie on Friday morning after he ran off from Stevenage’s Fairlands Valley Park, where owner Stephen Wells and his three-year-old son were walking him and other pooch, Bert.
Ernie was spooked when two dogs in the park chased him, and was found the following day thanks to a Facebook post – which had more than 2,000 shares – and posters to spread the word and a number of people walking the streets to find him.
Stephen’s wife Hannah received a phone call on Saturday to say that Ernie had been spotted near McDonald’s in Monkwood Retail Park, situated more than one mile from Fairlands.
Stephen told the Comet: “We were blown away by the response from everyone.
“We didn’t realise that everyone would care so much, it was so heartwarming and overwhelming seeing everyone come together for big Ernie.
“We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts, we are forever grateful.
“We got him home on Saturday around 4pm and he slept for a good 12 hours.
“Having him home is amazing. There is less room in the bed at night again, but we can live with that!
“Again, to the people who took time out of their day to help find him, we cannot say thank you enough – we are eternally grateful.”
Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor was among many Stevenage residents who were concerned for Ernie’s wellbeing after he went missing on Friday.
She took to Twitter and said: “Big Ernie has been lost at Fairlands Valley after running off when he got spooked by other dogs.
“He is a much-loved part of Stevie and Hannah’s family, so please let them know if you see him.”
Once found, many shared Stephen and Hannh’s relief – with one commenting: “Well done to everyone, it just shows the amount of good people that are out there still.
“Me and the girls saw a few people out looking our end too. I just told them he is home safe and they were so happy.”
Another said: “My kids were cheering like mad when I told them.”