When Bobby the cocker spaniel fell to the bottom of an 82ft (25m) well that was hidden in the middle of a farm field, it looked like the beginning of the end. With no food and just tiny muddy puddles of water, the two-year-old was in deep trouble. But on Thursday afternoon his yelps were heard by a farmer who lives nearby at Gimingham, near Cromer in Norfolk. Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue (Usar) raced to the scene and there followed a dramatic operation, with one of the team winched to the bottom of the well to scoop up Bobby and carry him to safety.
The dog’s owners, Adrian and Sally Phillips, from Gimingham, had been watching the rescue with their hearts in their mouths and there was a joyful scene when Bobby emerged from the well and was passed to Mr Phillips with his tail wagging. Bobby first went missing when he was being walked by a friend of his owners, who live near the field.
Mrs Phillips, 57, said: “One minute he was there in the field off his lead and the next he had just disappeared.” The distraught couple had put out pleas on social media and posters all round the village and surrounding area.
Mrs Phillips said: “I have walked across the field numerous times looking for him and I never heard him cry or any barking. After he was gone for a week we thought we would be looking for a dead dog caught in a snare or that someone had taken him.”
It was only after farmer Ali Cargill, 45, and his wife Rachel, 55, stood on their driveway and heard yelps coming from the well in the middle of the field opposite their farmhouse that Bobby was discovered. The field was the site of a home until the 1940s when it was demolished and the land cultivated.
Mr Cargill, 45, alerted Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and also Bobby’s owners who live just behind his farmhouse.
Mrs Cargill, 55, then lowered down a bucket of water and some dog food down to Bobby.
She said: “He drank the water and ate the food and fell asleep. He was moving around.”
As he was brought up there were sighs of relief and some quiet yelps from Bobby who started wagging his tail as soon as he saw his owners. Mr Cargill said: “That is one very happy, lucky dog. It is just extraordinary.”
Mr Phillips, 64, said: “It is miraculous. He has no signs of trauma at all.
We have taken him to the vets and other than a red nose where he has been digging there are no signs of any injuries.
We think he was trapped for the two weeks because of the amount of weight he has lost. He has lost about 2kg. We think if he had not been trapped he would have made his way home somehow.”
John Linden from the Usar team said: “It is a great outcome. We get a lot of animal rescues and dogs which have fallen down wells and it is good to get an outcome like this.”