A ‘miracle’ dog walked six miles home across dangerous terrain after getting lost while out on a walk.
Archie, a two-year-old beagle who lives in Wroths Path, Loughton, went missing for 16 hours after chasing a rabbit while off the lead near Copped Hall on Thursday at around 2pm.
After four hours searching for his son’s dog, Kenny Moss, 70, reported the pet missing to the police.
He then contacted his son, Charlie, 34, to tell him the bad news and the family began searching together.
The police contacted the family at about 9pm to say Archie had been seen near the Miller and Carter restaurant on the Wakes Arms roundabout in Epping New Road.
Charlie immediately headed for the site but searched in vain until midnight.
After a sleepless night, Charlie’s mother, Mo Moss, ventured out to put up missing posters in the neighbourhood.
But at 6am on Friday she spotted Archie at the junction of Wroths Path and Stony Path, six miles from where he had gone missing.
Charlie Moss said: “When I heard he was at the Wakes Arms roundabout I thought I would never see him again.
“We were all worried sick and to spend the night without him around was heartbreaking.
“When we saw him it was tears all round; the relief was unbelievable.”
Beagles are known for their acute sense of smell and tracking ability, but Mrs Moss was still astounded Archie made it back along a route including roads, fences, water and dense forest which he had never walked.
Mrs Moss said: “To me it’s a miracle.
“We have no idea how he knew where to go, he’s always taken to Copped Hall in the car.
“I know he has a good sense of smell but not from six miles away.”
After a drink of water and a bite to eat, Archie spent the best part of two days sleeping off his trek on the sofa.