It’s Raiders of the Lost Bark!

REUNITED: Joe Appleby and his dog Bella. (D511A231)
REUNITED: Joe Appleby and his dog Bella. (D511A231)

It started with a walk – and ended with a miraculous rescue.

Firefighters from Cleckheaton rescued Bella, a cross-Corgi/Jack Russell after she became trapped under concrete blocks for two days.

Bella was enjoying a walk with Beryl Dewhurst, a friend of owner Joe Appleby, last Wednesday, when the mutt ran off in the car park by Wynsors World of Shoes.

Beryl searched frantically for the seven-year-old, but the dog would not answer her calls.

She said: “I was so worried because I was calling her name for her to bark back at me, but she wouldn’t bark back – I ended up having to go back without her. I felt so guilty because it wasn’t even my dog.”

After two days of contacting several animal rescue charities, Beryl eventually visited Cleckheaton Fire Station to ask for help and, that afternoon Bella was miraculously rescued with the aid of lifting equipment after a firefighter climbed down a 10ft hole to rescue her.

Beryl said: “I am so glad they sent someone out with me to find her.

“We went to the car park near where she had gone missing and called to her, and that time she barked back at us – we followed the sound of the barks and thankfully managed to find her.

“I felt so guilty, because I was with her when she went missing. I am very thankful to the fire service, they were absolutely brilliant – when she was found, she was absolutely fine. She didn’t have a scratch on her, though she was a bit mucky!”

Owner Joe Appleby, 78, was overjoyed when Bella was returned to him: “She didn’t have a mark on her when she was found – I can’t thank the fire service enough for rescuing her.

“I couldn’t eat or sleep after she had gone missing – she is such a friendly dog that I was worried that someone might have offered her some chocolate and she might have jumped into their car.

“I want to thank everybody who helped look for her – a lot of our friends from the Old House at Home pub were very supportive.”

Watch Commander Colin Brown from Cleckheaton Fire Station, said: “We rescue animals quite often, but it isn’t too often that we have someone walk into the fire station to tell us a pet is missing – we were very glad we could help her out.”