Dog and owner miraculously reunited after eight-day search of countryside

Rachael Nixon from Kirkcaldy and her beloved Cockapoo Ester.
Rachael Nixon from Kirkcaldy and her beloved Cockapoo Ester.

A walker from Kirkcaldy has been miraculously reunited with her pet more than a week after the dog was lost whilst climbing a Munro in Perth.

Rachael Nixon’s two-year-old pet cockapoo Ester went missing after slipping while the pair descended Ben Chonzie in Perthshire on October 17.

Rachael and Ester at the summit of Ben Chonzie a short time before the pair were separated.

Rachael and Ester at the summit of Ben Chonzie a short time before the pair were separated.

The dog got away after slipping on rocks on a precarious section of the descent.

And, despite a frantic search Ester could not be found.

“It was a difficult and slippy section and the only way the dog would continue was if I took her off the lead,” Rachael told the Press.

“But as she did she slipped and I can only think she saw something, possibly a bird or a rabbit, and bolted.”

Ester's two-and-a-half kilos lighter after her ordeal but safe and now back together with owner Rachael Nixon.

Ester's two-and-a-half kilos lighter after her ordeal but safe and now back together with owner Rachael Nixon.

Every day since then, Rachael retraced her steps and climbed every other route up the Munro as she clung to the hope that her dog could be found.

The 32-year-old children’s charity worker and keen walker even enlisted the help of local farmers, rangers and fellow walkers in a hope that Ester could be found.

But after a week with no news of her dog’s whereabouts Rachael admitted she was starting to fear the worst.

“My hopes were fading,’’ she said.

‘‘I’d been back every single day, climbed up and down every possible route but there was no sign of Ester.’’

“I covered about 80 miles in the time she was missing, walking the Munro and asking anyone I passed if they had seen anything.”

She even took a barbecue to cook bacon and sausages in the hope that the smell would attract the dog, but it was to no avail.

“I had made a decision to give it two weeks of searching before I’d accept she was gone for good, but I was pretty dejected,” Rachael explained.

“Then out of the blue I had a voicemail on my phone from a very well spoken Englishman who said they were convinced they had Ester at their farm.

“I couldn’t believe it!

‘‘I was screaming but had to stay as calm as possible a the farm was an hour’s drive away.

“Dogs go into survival mode and often don’t recognise their owners but as soon as she saw me she came bounding over – she was ecstatic.

“She had lost two-and-a-half kilos in weight, but, from her smell, the farmer thought she had found a dead sheep which helped her to survive.”

With the pair now reunited, the dog is getting plenty of pampering as she recovers from minor injuries.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by all the help and support,” said Rachael.

“Ester’s become a bit of a celebrity, getting offers of free grooming and recognised in the street.

“First thing we need to buy now is a GPS collar, we can’t face another ordeal like this again.”