Grieving dog owner thanks volunteer rescue effort

PUBLISHED: 15:41 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 10 June 2010

AN Exmouth owner whose Jack Russell died after becoming trapped in a rabbit hole on the Maer says she is indebted to all those who helped search for her much-loved dog.

AN Exmouth owner whose Jack Russell died after becoming trapped in a rabbit hole on the Maer says she is 'indebted' to all those who helped search for her much-loved dog.

The Journal last week reported how seven-year-old Suki disappeared down a rabbit hole on the Maer - and hoped this week the tale would have a happy ending.

But Suki's owner Ann Turton, of Douglas Avenue, and her family were devastated when their pet's body was discovered late last Thursday night after a mammoth four-day rescue effort.

It is thought the Parson Jack Russell terrier died after she took a wrong turn down a narrow burrow and the sand collapsed on top of her as she tried to turn around.

Score of friends, family and total strangers joined the rescue efforts to find Mrs Turton's rescue dog.

Mrs Turton, who drafted in a raft of expert-help to find her dog, thanked all those who joined in the search, and paid tribute to her beloved pet.

She said the dog had been a valued and much-loved ninth member of the family who would always be missed.

Mrs Turton said her days had been spent in tears since Suki's body was discovered.

She said: "In spite of our deep sense of loss, the family are indebted and grateful for all the effort, concern and determination given freely by these complete, but incredibly kind, strangers, whose common connection is an unconditional love of a man's best friend.

"Suki was with me 24-hours a day. She had such an expressive face. You could tell when she was laughing or smiling. She was like a little person.

"She was very in touch with people's feelings. We were very fortunate to have had her. Everybody loved her. She wasn't just a dog, she had quite a personality. It's very, very hard."

When the RSPCA and the fire brigade specialist search and rescue team were unable to locate Suki, Mrs Turton contacted the Countryside Alliance who brought in a local member and his specially-trained dog.

Failing light and the sand condition meant search conditions were less than perfect and often hampered.

Exeter company Speedyhire, touched by the family's plight donated a fibre optic camera.

On-line database Doglost put the family in touch with the Fell and Moorland Working Terriers Club whose members travelled from Modbury to Exmouth to join in the search of the narrow maze of burrows.

Last Thursday, family friend Gary Wray and a 12-strong team of volunteers uncovered a 1.5-metre deep, two-metre wide and four- metre long site where they found Suki, lying on her side with her head between her front paws.

To leave a tribute to your pet, visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

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