A dog owner wept tears of joy when his beloved Jack Russell was found, five days after it ran away following an attack by another dog.
Mr Gary Frayling, a Burnley borough councillor, said the feeling was “better than winning the Lottery” when his friend John Eastham discovered four-year-old Alfie cowering in a bush near Rowley Lake.
But it was a real community effort with scores of Burnley folk and other people from around the country posting appeals on the internet and in their windows.
Alfie ran away after being attacked by a bull mastiff dog in Colne Road on Wednesday, near to his home in Heath Street.
His disappearance prompted Mr Frayling, wife Julie and son Bradley to set up a Facebook group to help find the family pet.
He said: “The group had 163 members within 24 hours. The response was overwhelming with people from all over joining.
“Our house is for sale and we were having a viewing at the time so were unable to take Alfie for a walk.
“My friend Frank Smith kindly volunteered, and I think he saved Alfie’s life – when he was attacked Frank put his hand in the other dog’s mouth and suffered a broken finger for his troubles.
“We were all devastated and set up this Facebook page to appeal. It seemed like half of Burnley was out looking for him.
“I was near to John when he found Alfie in the bush. I don’t mind admitting I had a good cry and so did everyone else. He is like a member of the family. He’s now back home where he belongs.”
Oakmount Veterinary Practice, where Alfie is a patient, also helped out by funding an appeal.
Sonia Billington, head nurse, said: “Alfie was brought to us after his discovery. We gave him a through check-up, but thankfully he was quite well considering what he had been though.
“We prescribed him pain-killers and antibiotics, but I’m sure with plenty of TLC at home he will make a full recovery.”
Mr Frayling added: “On behalf of our family I would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone, local and from around the country, who helped to find Alfie.”