Happy ending to dog drama

The Milligan family pictured with Bella. Photo by Flutterby Dreams Photography.

The Milligan family pictured with Bella. Photo by Flutterby Dreams Photography.

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A terrified dog which bolted from a car following a head on collision was found thanks to the help of kind-hearted West Craven folk on Facebook.

Blackburn newlyweds Carla and Nathan Milligan were on their way back from their honeymoon in North Yorkshire with daughter Isobelle (2) and miniature Jack Russell Bella (4) on the A59 at 1pm on Friday when a car travelling in the other way span out of control and careered into them near Horton-in-Craven.

Fortunately, the couple suffered only whiplash injuries and daughter Isobelle was given the all clear, but a frightened Bella ran off into the fields.

The Milligans were so heartbroken, they passed up an immediate hospital check to search for Bella until 5pm when darkness fell.

Carla said: “I was absolutely devastated. She’s like a child really. We’ve had her since she was a puppy.

“She’s quite scared of being in a car anyway but with the impact and everything that happened, she just ran. Nathan chased after her but she wouldn’t come back.”

The couple returned home to set up a “Find Bella” social media campaign and contact a lost dog’s website about their missing mutt.

The online awareness campaign on Facebook went viral with almost 9,000 shares of Nathan’s original post, many from the West Craven area.

However, after the couple’s 2014 registered white ford Focus was written off in the crash, they were spared a honeymoon to remember for all the wrong reasons when Bella was found by a Bracewell farmer stuck in a swamp the following morning having survived freezing night time temperatures.

The family were happily reunited on Saturday. Carla added: “We got a call from a lorry driver who had seen Bella by the A59. That was a horrible feeling because it was just after we had stopped searching and we felt like we missed her. We were so worried. She had obviously crossed the A59.

“We also got a call from a farmer saying he had seen a dog which looked like Bella near a barn. But I thought it could be any dog or any Jack Russell. We were so relieved to get her back. We really feared the worst. She was quiet for a couple of days but is back to her usual bouncy self now.

“Facebook is full of drama so it’s really nice to know there are so many caring people out there. When it’s a child, you get that kind of a response, but when it’s your dog sometimes people see it as a just a pet.

“Bella is part of our family though and the number of shares gave us a lot of hope. We owe so many thanks but especially to Rachel Humberstone in Horton, farmer Brian Mellin and daughter Rachael from Turf Pitt Gate Farm and Chris Page at Alfie’s Lost Dogs.”