What should you do if your dog runs away? DogLost charity has the answer after helping to reunite owner with lost hound for Channel 4 show
- Credit: Lynn Coomber
Losing our beloved family pet is every dog owner's nightmare.
But one family learned exactly how to turn their agony into joy after being coached by canine experts about what to do in a moment of crisis as part of a national television programme.
Mike and Lynne Coomber thought they might never see their two-year-old fox red labrador Crème again when she jumped through a privet hedge into their next door neighbour's garden.
After getting frightened by being in unfamiliar surroundings, she bounded off into the distance.
She was later spotted at a nearby church where the family live in West Walton, near Wisbech.
But when Mrs Coomber instinctively ran towards Crème, the dog again bolted.
'I had never experienced anything like this before,' Mrs Coomber said.
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'She went into survival mode and just ran and ran. She obviously frightened herself to such an extent that she wouldn't come to us or anyone.'
The Coombers were heartened by the fact neighbours rallied round to help in the search for Crème. 'She went missing on a Saturday and on Sunday, 50-plus people were out looking for her,' Mrs Coomber said.
At this point the DogLost charity got involved, with a film crew from Channel Four's Lost and Found series in tow.
They taught the Coombers how running towards their dog was in fact the worst thing to do when their pet was in survival mode.
'Your instinct is to get them back as soon as possible but because they're in flight or fight mode, they're not going to respond as they would normally,' Mrs Coomber said.
Instead, DogLost's advice is to sit on the ground with your back to the animal, so he or she doesn't feel threatened and hopefully approaches out of curiosity.
Mrs Coomber added: 'I was terrified for Crème because of the roads round here. It's quite a rural area. Labradors are beautifully natured dogs and they become absolute members of your family. You look after them as best you can and you wouldn't want anything to happen to them, as much as you wouldn't want anything to happen to a member of your own family.'
Lost and Found, currently on All 4, shows how the story unfolded and the trials and tribulations of trying to locate and capture a very frightened dog.
DogLost East Anglia regional co-ordinator Helen Jermy said: 'The biggest issue with Crème was how nervous she was.
'Labs are known for loving their grub but we weren't sure that food was going to work here.
'Fortunately the area was quite rural which from a safety point of view was a huge advantage and she had been spotted a few times.'