Page last updated at 01:23 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 02:23 UK

Dog survives five weeks in hills

Oliver
Oliver went missing while out on a walk with his owners

An ageing and partially deaf springer spaniel has survived five weeks and two days lost in the hills.

Oliver's owners had given him up for dead following fruitless searches after he ran off during a walk up Ben Fhionnlaidh near Glen Etive.

He went missing on 24 February, but was found curled up in a shed on 2 April - eight miles as the crow flies, but 44 by road, from his home in the glen.

His owner Deborah Wyton said Oliver had been very hungry and thirsty.

She said: "He is my wonder dog."

We thought he had gone off to die because 12 weeks earlier he had a stroke and the vet wasn't sure how long he would last
Deborah Wyton

Mrs Wyton and her husband Michael spent hours looking for 12-and-a-half year old Oliver after he disappeared while on a walk with three other of the family's dogs.

She said: "We thought he had gone off to die because 12 weeks earlier he had a stroke and the vet wasn't sure how long he would last."

The dog was discovered at a property on the opposite side of the munro Ben Fhionnlaidh.

The man who found him gave him food and water and had to clean his tag of mud to see who the owner was.

Mrs Wyton said: "I think I almost deafened the man when he told me he had found Oliver. I screamed. I was so happy."

Shark-infested

The springer spaniel's story of survival comes amid reports that a dog which was washed overboard and believed drowned was found four months later - as a castaway on a remote Australian island.

Sophie Tucker - named after the famous US entertainer - vanished as Jan and Dave Griffith sailed through stormy waters off Queensland last November.

But unknown to her owners, the plucky dog survived a long swim across shark-infested waters to an island.

There she lived on a diet of baby goats until being found by visiting rangers.



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