Probes, beef and divining rods help hunt for lost dog

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Volunteers are digging up rabbit holes at Ganavan Sands in a desperate search for a missing terrier.

Two-year-old Rowan, a Jack Russell/Patterdale cross, went missing on a walk at Ganavan Sands with her owner, Sandra Muir from Oban, on Tuesday morning at about 9.30am.

‘She has never run away before,’ Sandra said. ‘She’s really interested in holes. It’s a horrible nightmare. We’ve dug up the hillside.’

Sandra’s partner, Lee Williamson, explained: ‘Sandra always brings the dogs out here. Normally, Rowan will sniff at the rabbit holes, like terriers do.’

The couple immediately put out an appeal out on Facebook, and the family were soon joined in their desperate search by friends shouting Rowan’s name down Ganavan’s rabbit holes. But, Lee said, ‘there was no sound. But she is not a yapping dog. We recorded the doorbell, and played it down the holes so she would yap.

‘We brought Sandra’s other dog. It went to that spot and started digging like mad, and she usually does not dig, so we took that as a clue.’

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The appeal also attracted the attention of Oban roofer Malcolm Kerr, who took his men off jobs to lend their muscle and spades. ‘He put four of us on digging,’ his stepson Jason Goldie said. ‘We came here at 9am and we have been digging holes. Malcolm has six dogs. He is a big dog lover. So am I. If it was his dog, he would like to think other people would do the same.’

Three more diggers, from pipework contractors D&K Lafferty, arrived early on Friday morning to shift earth, and soon the field became a network of trenches. The men also borrowed a CCTV probe from Scottish Water to check the deep rabbit warrens, but it proved challenging work. ‘We can only get the camera in so far,’ said digger Craig Wright, ‘because the ground is so soft.’

The search team have been offered the free use of a JCB digger, a listening device known as an ‘elephant’s foot’, and on Friday more children arrived with spades, an elderly lady turned up with a shovel and a tin of beef, and a man also searched with divining rods.

If you have any information on Rowan’s whereabouts, contact Sandra via her Facebook page.