Lost dog found in compost heap

Ruby, the border terrier, was found safe and well inside a compost heap in West Sussex after she’d been missing for 16 days. Her owners, Tim and Judith Brown, had been searching for her since she disappeared from their garden one weekend.

Then, 16 days later, Judith found Ruby hidden in the compost heap when she was gardening. Judith says finding her dog after all that time feels like a miracle.

It felt like a miracle. I got the shakes I was so overwhelmed.

It seems that the terrier became stuck in a rabbit warren under the compost heap while she was exploring. The couple believed their dog had been stolen, and even contacted the police and put up posters around the town offering a reward for Ruby’s safe return.

When Judith was gardening, 16 days after Ruby went missing, she heard a squeak from under the compost heap.

At first I thought I must have imagined it.

Then I heard it again and I said ‘Ruby?’ I felt I was totally stupid and unreal by calling for her, because I thought it couldn’t possibly be her.

The squeaks started getting a bit stronger, but I couldn’t work out where she was.

When I took the stone away and found her it felt like pulling her out of a grave.

She didn’t really register much. She was too weak and shaken to express any delight.

I carried her up the garden to the house and then she drank massively.

Apart from being dehydrated and in need of some decent food, Ruby was fit and healthy. The couple were delighted with finding Ruby again as she’d been a gift from their children for their 40th anniversary. Also, just after Ruby went missing they discovered that their Labrador had been diagnosed with cancer.

We’ve always had dogs and it would have been the first time without one which would have been an awful feeling. Our family were all very worried.

There’s no way she could have been there for 16 days, but she’s been somewhere and she lost a lot of weight.

We still think she was taken and then escaped and made her own way home.

The vet said she had been eating but I think she has been living wild somewhere and making her own way home.

I don’t think we’ll ever know what really happened to her. But she’s well and that’s the main thing.