A man moved heaven and earth to keep a promise to look after his dying mother’s beloved pet pooch after she had passed away – by chartering a plane to find it when it went missing.
Dana Neal swore to Nina, his mother, in November 2010 that he would do whatever it took to care for her terrier, Topsy. When she went missing in February, he decided to take to the skies in his search for the dog.
Neal, 55, who owns an electricity company, hired a light aircraft and, armed with top of the range binoculars and night vision equipment, searched the Washlands, Burton-on-Trent, where Topsy had disappeared.
At first, he put up posters around his neighbourhood, offering a reward of £100 for any information leading to Topsy’s rescue. However, after more than half a week passed with no leads, he resorted to desperate measures.
“When Topsy went missing I was devastated and knew that I would do anything to make sure she was found.”
“I had so many people offering me extra help.”
“The people who let me hire the plane must have flown me around for more than an hour but only charged me for 30 minutes.”
With the clock ticking and his hopes fading, he received the news that workers from the Environment Agency had found his pet in good health, by a bridge near the A511. It is thought that Topsy had fallen into the river, and swam for the bridge due to the river banks being too high for her to climb.
A relieved Mr Neal said:
“It was only by chance they spotted her. They called to tell me where she was.”
“I offered them the reward but they asked if I would donate it to charity.”