Sausage-wielding drones were deployed as part of a massive dog rescue operation after the beloved pet got lost on some dangerous mud flats.Rescuers turned to Millie’s favourite treat to tempt her away from the high tide and back towards safety last weekend. The Jack Russell had slipped through her lead and ran off while out walking at Farlington Marshes near Portsmouth with owner Emma Oakes, 40. She was missing for two days and Emma received several reports of her being sighted scared and alone, running near to main roads.
After several attempts to rescue her with kayaks, the Denmead Drone Search and Rescue (DDSAR) decided to take a new approach. They attached sausages to one of their drones and flew it close enough to Millie so she could get a whiff and follow it.
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It worked to a point and the dog ran away from the water but refused to cross a muddy patch, even for sausages.One of the volunteers, Elliot Exton, said: ‘At high tide, we had two teams in a kayak try to go out to see where she was after the sighting.
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‘We came up with the idea to hang sausages on the drone to lure her towards the team, as it was high tide and we didn’t want to risk her drowning.
‘But Millie wouldn’t cross the mud and would only stay on the grassy bits.’
Although the plan had secured her immediate safety, Millie then disappeared again.
Emma, a manager for a care agency, spent another two nights worrying whether she’d be alright.The pet was then spotted again in Havant, near Portsmouth, on Monday and Emma’s father, Tony Oakes, and his border collie Jasper rushed to the scene.
The Jack Russell ran towards the pair upon recognising them, and jumped into Tony’s arms.
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Emma said: ‘Relief just poured over me. I’d been searching for Millie and working at the same time, I just became exhausted all of a sudden.
‘It was just absolutely fantastic to have her home. When my dad rang me, I could just breath again and not have to worry everyday.’
She credits the sausages for ensuring Millie didn’t drown when the tide came in.
‘The smell of the sausages definitely attracted her and she followed her nose to safety,’ Emma said. ‘They pretty much saved the day.’
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She added: ‘Where Millie was she would have ended up going under, because the water kept getting higher and higher.
‘If they hadn’t had tried luring Millie with the sausages, she probably wouldn’t have survived.’Millie, now three, was taken in by Emma when she was just a year old after being rescued in Romania.
Her past means she’s quite timid and scared at the best of times, Emma explained.
‘She loves being at home more than anything and now she’s back all she’s doing is sleeping. She just sleeps and eats and looks at you as if to say, “I’m resting, leave me alone”.
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‘It’s so great to be reunited with Millie, and I can’t thank DDSR enough. They knew exactly what they were doing and were fantastic.
‘The vet says she’s really traumatised by the event, so we are going to get her a trainer to bring her confidence back up.
‘But at least now we know how to entice her back if she goes missing again: sausages.’
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