A Louth woman has praised the work of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue after her dog Ellie was stuck in a rabbit hole for nearly five hours.
Lisa Hobson, (40), said she had a particularly stressful day last Tuesday (May 1) and to relax, she decided to take her three Jack Russell dogs for a walk at Hubbards Hills.
She had reached the Hallington end of the popular beauty spot and was just about to turn for home when a rabbit ran past and all three dogs bolted after it.
Ms Hobson said: “Jack Russell dogs do have this instinct to go after rabbits - and other things - without a second thought. To them it’s just a game, a bit of fun.
“I kept calling their names and ran down the road after them and when I caught up, they had found the hole the rabbit had gone into.
“I was able to get two of my dogs back on a lead as they couldn’t fit in the hole to chase after the rabbit.”
But Ms Hobson’s youngest dog - two year-old Ellie - was small enough to squeeze into the hole...and disappeared completely
Ms Hobson battled for an hour to release Ellie - without success. Realising how deep the hole was, she called the fire service for help.
She added: “The fire service got to where I was really quickly and started work immediately.”
Ms Hobson explained the fire crews had to bring in extra lighting as it was dark.
They started the rescue by digging smaller holes around the main rabbit hole, in the hope of finding Ellie alive.
By 9pm, they weren’t having much luck so specialist equipment - including a ‘snake eye’ camera - had to be brought in from Sleaford Fire Station.
With around ten firefighters now on scene, the fight to find Ellie continued.
Ms Hobson said: “We had got to about 10.30pm and I was starting to lose hope as there was still no sign of Ellie but the fire crews were not giving up.”
Suddenly, a firefighter pulled out a rabbit out which it’s thought Ellie had been chasing.
Ms Hobson thought it might be Ellie but then realised it was twice the size of her dog.
She said: “My heart completely sank. I thought that was Ellie and then to see it was the rabbit...I didn’t think I would see my dog again.”
But thanks to the specialist equipment, one of the fireman heard a sound. This time, it was Ellie they could hear barking.
The firefighters told Ms Hobson that Ellie was quite distressed.
One of the crew put their head into one of the newly dug holes and kept hold of Ellie’s leg for the next 30 minutes - until they were able to get her out.
Finally. at 11.45pm, Ellie was free.
Ms Hobson said the hole where Ellie was found, ended up being ten metres away from the original hole she went into to chase the rabbit.
She added: “When I saw Ellie was finally out and free, I just burst into tears - I was so happy.
“She is such a special dog to us and she really is like another member of our family.
“I wrapped her up in my coat and gave her some water, but within about ten minutes, she was full of beans and back to her normal self.”
Ms Hobson says she can’t thank Ellie’s rescuers enough. “I could not believe the tenacity and expertise of the crew. I am extremely proud of the work they did.
“They never gave up for one minute, so it was so amazing to see professionalism like that at its best.”
Ellie had her second birthday the next day, (Wednesday, May 2) and Ms Hobson made sure she got lots of fuss and attention.