Border terrier Freda’s ordeal began when she darted down a badger sett while out for a walk at the Lickey Hills Country Park, near Birmingham.
It ended an incredible 12 days later when she was rushed to Blacks Vets’ veterinary hospital in Dudley, where Freda received urgent treatment for dehydration, malnutrition, significant pressure sores and a host of cuts and scrapes.
Ecstatic owner Victoria Hogan, from Lickey, south of Halesowen, carried out an eight-day vigil by setting up camp by the badger sett as she hoped to see her beloved pet again.
She said it was a happy miracle that Freda survived.
Victoria, who works at Linnaeus-owned Blacks Vets along with her husband Brian, said: “I camped out for eight days at the country park in the hope that Freda would somehow miraculously re-emerge.
“The Badgers Trust and RSPCA really supported us, while Hereford and Worcester fire service even used specialist listening devices and cameras to try to locate her but there was no trace.
“On day eight, I just said to myself ‘I have to give up and begin to grieve’ and went back home, although I did leave her blanket and bowl behind in the park just in case.
“Then, on day 12, I was told three students had found Freda collapsed at the side of a nearby road and I initially feared the worst and thought it must be her dead body.
“When I was told she was alive it felt like a miracle and I ran out of the house to find her. She was very weak and bedraggled but she was alive, so we rushed her to Blacks Vets 24/7 emergency hospital in Dudley where my husband Brian is based.”
Brian is better known professionally as Dr Brian Hogan, clinical director of Blacks Vets, which has branches in Dudley, Lye, Oldbury, Sedgeley and Quinton.
Dr Hogan said: “I’ve been a vet for almost 30 years but Freda’s story is one of the most incredible I’ve ever known.
“She was severely malnourished and dehydrated and had some significant pressure sores as a result of being trapped and wedged underground for so long but, thankfully, nothing that she could not overcome.
“She was hospitalised for two days here at Blacks for treatment and then allowed home to be reunited with her brother Bert and the rest of the family, which was obviously a very happy occasion indeed.”
Victoria is full of gratitude to her colleagues in the expert team at Blacks for their support throughout the whole drama.
She added: “They were so supportive and accommodating from the moment it happened. At first, I rang in to say I’d be late as Freda had disappeared and then it developed into I wouldn’t be going in that day and, finally, could I take leave at short notice to search for her.
“I was so grateful but it was when Freda was found that they really came into their own.
“We called ahead to say we were on our way to the hospital and by the time we arrived the nurses and emergency team had already organised a heated bed, had fluids and pain relief ready and were all geared up to treat her wounds.
“Some of our colleagues even came in to help, even though they were not on duty. They were all fabulous and I now fully realise just how important it is for a vets to provide a 24/7 emergency service that can make the difference in cases such as Freda’s.”