Monty’s 6ft deep ordeal and rescue
A Jack Russell Terrier has survived after spending four days stuck underground in woods in the Highlands.
Monty disappeared on a walk close to Maryburgh near Dingwall on Sunday.
His owner, geologist Chris Blake, appealed for help finding his dog and across the next two days up to 50 people searched for Monty.
After barking was later heard from a hole in a cliff Mr Blake used specialist equipment to dig Monty out from where he was trapped.
The nine-year-old terrier disappeared on a walk with Mr Blake and another Jack Russell, Murphy.
Mr Blake’s appeal on social media for help finding Monty was fulfilled by volunteers. They included a local gamekeeper, a drone operator and people with a camera trap and sniffer dogs.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Blake’s mother-in-law heard barking originating from a hole in a cliff in the woods.
Mr Blake, who operates a geosciences company which specialises in environmental and geotechnical site investigation, had the brainwave to use his business’ specialist excavation kit to free Monty.
Two hydraulic jacks were brought up the hillside to try and prise open the narrow crack in an attempt to save the dog on Wednesday.
Using the jacks, the rock face was split open allowing Mr Blake and his helpers to get closer to Monty.
The geologist said: “The more we dug, the louder the barking got.”
The team of rescuers burrowed 2m (6ft) down and 3m (10ft) into the hillside.
Mr Blake gave praise to his employee, 18-year-old Louis Ray, who dug for several hours trying to get to Monty, who was wedged between two rocks.
“It was unbelievable the shift he put in,” said Mr Blake.
They finally saw the dog’s nose and a search volunteer appeared on the scene and offered, because he was smaller, to go into the hole to try and save the stricken dog.
He managed to get right into the shovelled ground so much so that he was totally out of sight. As he plucked the dog to safety, those above pulled the “hero” volunteer out by his ankles.
Mr Blake said it was an emotional reunion with Monty, adding: “There were tears and everything and the dog was licking my face.”
A vet who checked Monty found him to be de-hydrated and he had sore hips but expected him to make a full recovery.
The vet said if the dog had been in the hole for even a day or two longer he would not have survived due to exhaustion.
When asked if he will take his dogs into the woods anytime soon, Mr Blake said: “Not in a million years, we’ll stick to the beach from now on.”
Monty’s DogLost timeline can be viewed here.