A DOG owner was “overjoyed” to be reunited with her two pet pooches - after they spent EIGHT DAYS trapped down a tiny hole underground.

Katie Fuller, 47, and her daughter Lucy Stammers, 22, were “beside themselves” with worry when their two Jack Russell terriers, Hattie and her daughter Toast, went missing on July 20.

At first, Katie reassured her daughter the dogs were both microchipped, and someone would phone the family to say they had been found.

But as the days stretched on, Katie began to fear someone had stolen them and was trying to sell them.

So mum-of-two Katie, from Danbury, was shocked when she eventually discovered the dogs had got stuck down a hole just 100 metres from the field at the back of their house.

Hattie, nine, and six-year-old Toast, were dug out from just a metre underground eight days after they disappeared - exhausted and thin, but “elated” to be reunited with their owners.

Katie said: “It was an awful time without them. As the days went by, I was searching on websites to see if anybody had taken them and tried to sell them.

“But they are elated to be out and to be back with us. They were exhausted at first and skinnier but not emaciated.”

On the day Hattie and Toast went missing, Katie said she and her daughter had been mucking out the three-acre field behind their home.

She said: “We have a field behind our house where the dogs love to play.

“They’ll rabbit around in the hedges but they never catch anything. They’re more pet terriers as opposed to working terriers.

“Then when we go back to the house, usually we call them and they come trotting up the garden path.

“But on that evening, we called them and called them and nothing.

“They’re both microchipped so I thought that by the next morning we would have got a call from someone.”

But the call didn’t come and Katie and Lucy launched a search party for the dogs.

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Katie said: ”We ended up with more than 1,000 people in the Facebook group helping out and following our search.

“Lucy was going out into our field every night because she really believed they were out there.

“The farmer who lives behind us let us wander around his fields, where there are a couple of holes along the hedgerow.

“Lucy’s friend is an RSPCA wildlife officer so we called her and we called Natural England.

“Meanwhile, I was out doing BBQs every night - not to eat, but in the hope that they might smell it and come home.

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Katie and Lucy set out wildlife cameras in the field behind their house but caught no sign of Hattie or Toast.

Katie added: “Then two ladies called Kim and Nicky, from animal rescue Help Me Home, got involved and they were fantastic.

“They helped us to organise our search efforts.”

Help Me Home helped Katie get in touch with a man who owned a tracker dog which was brought down to have a sniff around the fields.

The dogs were eventually found more than a week later when Lucy heard Toast whimpering.

Katie said: “She heard Toast barking. She phoned me and she said: ‘Mum, I think I can hear Toast’.

“They were in a tiny hole, just a metre underground, literally 100 metres from the back of our field.

“It’s like they had gone in through the front door of an animal set, and had then squeezed through a tiny window and got stuck.

“The hole was no bigger than when people put their index fingers and thumbs together to make a heart shape.”

Katie and Lucy phoned the fire brigade and rescuers from the fire service spent two hours freeing the dogs.

“It’s so brilliant to have them both back. We’re so thankful to the fire brigade, the RSPCA, Nicky and Kim from Help Me Home, and everyone else who helped us search.”