THE FAMILY of Dachshund puppy Bertie have praised the power of social networking upon the return of their beloved dachshund.

Bertie, who is nine months old, ran off two weeks ago in Micheldever Woods near Winchester.

Four days later and hopes were fast fading for his safe return, when Nicki Pudney, one of his owners, received a phone call from a number she didn’t recognise whilst on the morning school run.

It turned out that Bertie had walked nearly four miles to a farm in Northington and was found by a farmer who was about to light the fire pit the puppy had fallen in to.

Nicki and Michael Pudney own the city’s Enigma Hair Design, and received relentless support from local residents to try and find Bertie.

Speaking to the Hampshire Chronicle, Nicki praised social networking sites for getting the word out about the lost dog.

“The support we got was unbelievable. People I went to primary school with were sharing the message online.

“We are just staggered by the power of technology, and by the support we received from so many people.”

It turned out, that a friend of the Pudneys who works on a local farm, Will Butler, had heard the story of lost Bertie and had told other local farmers to keep their eyes peeled.

Nicki and Michael have two little girls, Izobelle, 9, and Millie, 5, and an older son, Ben, 25, who lives in Winnall with a family of his own.

Nicki added she thinks the support generated was down to her young family. She said: “I find it amazing that these people do this.

“I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because we have two little girls.People just want a happy ending.”

Indeed, a happy ending is what they got! All the hours spent in the pouring rain and gusting wind were made worth it on Bertie’s return.

Michael said, “We would like to thank everyone for all the time they have given to our little Bertie.”

Nicki shared a status online saying: “I couldn’t bake enough brownies to thank everyone.”