On 24 November 2017, Finn, a male Dalmatian, got away from his dog walker in Chatterton village and then headed into Stubbins, near Ramsbottom. He got chased into a field and feeling cornered, he swam across the river Irwell, to get back to the village. However he then followed the river towards Haslingdon just before the Woolpack Inn. that was about midday on friday. The next sighting was of him was the same night in Edenfield about 9:30pm. On Saturday morning up to about 10am he was spotted near the Duckworth arms, Fishermans retreat, Bleakholt, the Plunge and Gincroft lane near the waterworks.

On the following Thursday we believed that Finn was spotted near Ashworth Reservoir in the early hours  apparently looking fit and healthy. This was on the reservoir side of Rochdale road. As a result we spent the next two nights out with a trap in the area, in the hope that he had settled there. We cooked meat to encourage him to the trap, but he did not respond. As discouraging as this is, we knew Finn was still well and in the area but just that he had heavily gone to ground. The last weekend when he first ran, when several groups of people where chasing him it scared him and he was avoiding people.

We had in total 4 sightings of Finn on December 4. We had established that, with his movements, his safe area was on Scout Moor wind farm, and these movements seemed to confirm this.
We were in the process of trying to get our vehicles onto Scout moor late afternoon on the 4th December, after we had had the first sighting earlier that morning, when we received news of the second sighting. Paul, Finn’s owner, got there first and saw Finn sauntering along the moor, not far from him. It was dark by then as we got there and we all turned our lights and engines off, whispering to each other so as not to disturb him. Then somebody drove up to us with their lights blaring and sounded their horn after I had already spoken to them on the phone asking them not to drive up as they had said they would to show us the area where he’d been seen (second sighting half an hour before). Finn ran off. Because we were near to the wind farm, we decided to stay there and set up two bbqs and the trap, and cooked meat continuously for most of the night. We stayed in the cars so as not to disturb Finn (lights and engines off). I had to get out now and again to tend to bbqs but I did this as quietly as possible.
Later towards midnight the other person that was in the car that came up before (there were two people) drove up to us and the person got out, went to our car window, and shouted that Finn was down at the bottom and they had given him some crisps. The bbqs were lit, meat was cooking and the trap was set. We could not move the bbqs while they were lit and hot so we decided to remain where we were and hope that Finn would come back to his safe area/place. It was not to be. Bare in mind that he had hardly been seen in the 10 days that he’d been missing, and the last sighting was very early hours Thursday morning. With him out and about yesterday, and all those sightings, meant he was ready to go home. He had had enough. He must have been so exhausted that he simply could not make it back to his safe place and he very luckily found the hay barn and lay down to sleep. Finn could not stand up and had to be carried by his owner to the car where he was taken straight to the vet. Besides losing an awful amount of weight and being completely exhausted he was okay medically.
On December 4 Finn was finally safely home. Paul, Finn’s owner, was so grateful to everybody that helped and said, “I just want to say a massive thank you to you all. Having said all of that, I do want to thank Michelle, who completely put her life on hold to help us. I never met anyone so dedicated to recovering a lost pet. I don’t think people realise how much effort went to recovering Finn, living on a few hours sleep, and sitting out in temperatures below freezing. She stuck with us through it all and we won’t ever forget it.” It was a pleasure working with such a dedicated family although in such difficult circumstances emotionally and physically. The weather was extremely cold out there on the moors and trying to cook meat on a bbq in a blizzard was challenging to say the least!
Finn soon started to put his weight back on and before long was back to his usual weight. he has never looked back at his adventure and continues to be the happy loving boy that he is.