A FAMILY were left stunned after their pet pooch escaped – only to return later that day with a rosette from a dog show.
Peter and Paula Closier became concerned when their five-year-old beagle-cross Bonnie vanished on Sunday morning.
With a search party including their two daughters and neighbours they looked all over their house in Bolney – even calling the police, local vets and dog warden in a frantic bid to find her.
Meanwhile, John Wilmer, who was on his was to a dog show in Felbridge, Surrey, with two dogs of his own, had spotted Bonnie by the side of the road just minutes after she escaped.
The family’s fears were eased when Paula spotted a Facebook post by John asking for the pet's owner to get in touch.
Once he knew Peter and Paula had been told Bonnie was safe, John decided to enter her into a competition for best rescue dog, in which she finished with a third place rosette.
Peter, 52, and Paula, 48, said they were feeding Bonnie and their other dog Cleo when Bonnie disappeared.
“We thought maybe she is not interested in food and did a full search of the house. I could not see her,” Peter said.
“I was walking back to the kitchen when I saw the gate had swung and I thought ‘oh no’.”
After a three-hour search, the couple and their neighbours had begun to give up hope, then Paula spotted John’s Facebook post, which said "does anyone know this dog?”.
Peter said the family were in disbelief when Bonnie arrived home with a rosette from the dog show later the same day.
“We couldn’t believe it. You could not make it up,” he said. “Bonnie was absolutely fine when she got back. She just thought she was having a great day out.”
Bonnie was rescued from the streets of Crete when she was one year old.
Cleo, who was also rescued from the Greek island, has won three rosettes at dog shows for Greek dogs.
But Peter and Paula, who are both dental technicians, said they had never entered Bonnie into any competitions.
“We never pursued dog shows with Bonnie. We should do now," Peter said.
“When she was missing I had five different outcomes in my head, the best being that she came back.
“This was even better than that, she came back with a rosette.”