A frantic nine-day search for a terrified dog – which involved police, farmers, friends, family, animal lovers and strangers – had a happy ending.
The hunt for Carlton saw his owners stopped by suspicious police officers and meant Christmas dinner was ruined at the family home.
The search eventually ended when a stranger who had been following the story on Facebook, drove an hour from the M62 to help reunite the pet with his family.
Carlton the lhasa apso had been due to start a new life on the Yorkshire coast after being rescued from cruelty and being rehomed with Mavis Masterman in Bridlington.
Mavis’ daughter Claire Granton said: “My mum picked him up from the RSPCA in Wakefield on the 16th.
“He had been rescued from a house with 30 other dogs who had been mistreated and kept in cages, so he was absolutely terrified.
“He was all matted, so four days later we took him to Pets At Home to be groomed. They had done a fantastic job but when my mum picked him up, as they got to the till, he slipped his lead.
“He was hit by a car on the roundabout and then ran off down St John’s Avenue and St John’s Walk and all round the fields around Gypsey Road.
“Everyone was out looking for him, even the police, because he was a traffic hazard.”
Claire then decided to look for him by the hospital and spotted Carlton, but he bolted off towards Woldgate.
Appeals were made on social media and Tracy Roberts and Jenny Malone, who run the Lost and Found Facebook page, joined the search.
“Every single day there were people searching for him,” said Claire. “My mum is 67 but she was going out at 5am to look for him.
“You could make a movie out of his story. I went to places I didn’t even know existed.
“Even on Christmas Day, we had just served Christmas dinner when we got a call to see he had been spotted and we had to leave it and jump in the car.
Claire’s adventures saw her being accused of poaching by a farmer – who then took her in his 4x4 so they could search off-road areas – and stopped by police who saw her wandering around Carnaby at night carrying a torch.
Reports came in from Thornholme and Burton Agnes, but to make matters more difficult, Claire had not actually met Carlton yet
because the family were trying to let him settle in following his traumatic experience in West Yorkshire.
The appeal was shared on the Free Press Facebook page on Friday night and the next day, the search intensified.
“On Saturday, Tracy had a tip-off from a farmer’s wife who had seen him running across the fields.
“When I got home from work, I got in the car and we went to Fraisthorpe church. Me and my son Rhys, who is fit because he plays football, spent three hours running around Fraisthorpe.
“Then a man appeared with his dog – I don’t even know where he came from – but he said he was called Michael, and he helped us to get him. Michael had been back in Bridlington with his parents for Christmas and had been following the story on social media.
“He was on his way back to Leicester and had got as far as Howden when he saw on Facebook that there had been a sighting at Fraisthorpe and he turned round and came back.
“Carlton was trapped in brambles between a ditch and a barbed wire fence.”
Claire, Rhys and Michael eventually managed to free him and get him back home to Mavis, and Pets At Home vets have given him a free check-over.
“To say he has been out for nine days and the miles he has covered, he is doing well,” said Claire.
“How he hasn’t been hit by a car, I don’t know. All he has is a scratch on his eye which he needs drops for, and his front paws are really sore, although he has lost a third of his body weight.
“I can’t believe we have got him back. It was the worst Christmas without him but we were so thankful to everyone who helped to find him.”