Volunteers are searching fields near the Duke of Westminster’s Estate after a puppy belonging to a severely disabled teenager went missing at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The seven-month-old pup bolted after being spooked by loud fireworks as residents living in Pulford celebrated the start of 2014.
Now as concern grows for the safety of the golden retriever, named Chilli, residents have joined forces with the owners, who were visiting the village at the time, to find the pup who is a trainee companion for a teenager with cerebral palsy.
Chilli, who belongs to the family from Norfolk, has been missing after running away from her mother Teasel, aged four, and vanishing into nearby woods close to the house on Old Pulford Lane, Chester.
Her worried owners and their friends searched for hours following their much-loved pet’s disappearance, looking in nearby woodland until around 3am before heading back out in pouring rain at 7.30am to resume their search.
“She was terrified by the fireworks and got out through an unlocked door, before heading across the field in the dark and into the wood,” said Nicola, owner of the much-loved family pet.
“The weather got worse and worse. We kept looking until about 1pm, but then we had to return home. I can’t think about what will happen if we don’t find her. We have put posters up in pubs and loads of people have helped us to look for her.”
Nicola’s 13-year-old son – who she does not want named for safety reasons – suffered a brain injury at birth leaving him unable to speak or sit unassisted and he is now permanently in a wheelchair.
She says Chilli is the perfect companion for him, sitting with him and enriching his life. The family is travelling back and forth to the area in a tireless search to find the missing dog.
“They get on really well,” said Nicola, who said the amount of help she had received from people living in and around Pulford had restored her faith in humanity.
“We are going to offer a reward but we haven’t decided how much yet. The police have been very helpful and the RSPCA in Wrexham have been fantastic.”
Chilli, who was last seen heading in the direction of Dodleston, is thought to have been sighted in the nearby area.
“We hope she is still in the area. She is microchipped.”
Have you seen Chilli? If so, contact the Chester Chronicle newsdesk on 01244 606414.