'Lucky' Maidenhead dog found alive and well after being lost in French mountains for days

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A ‘lucky’ dog from Maidenhead has become famous in local dog walking circles at home and abroad after getting lost in the French Alps – and being found again, against the odds.

Juno, a 10-month-old Hungarian Vizsla, is currently on holiday with her family in Contamines, South-Eastern France, alongside fellow dog, nine-year-old Saffron. It is her first time abroad.

But on Friday morning, while the dogs were out on their walk, Juno was startled by a group of rowdy young people and took off suddenly.

Owner Inge Borremans did not even see her dashing away and ‘didn’t have a clue’ where she had gone.

“I kept calling her but she wasn’t coming,” said Inge. “I was panicked. She’d never done that before. She sticks to me and Saffron on our walks.”

Inge headed back to the car to see if Juno was there but there was no sign of her. The family searched for miles and were out until midnight – but were unsuccessful.

Worse, the weather was chilly and rainy that day – and being in the mountains, temperatures dropped significantly at night. The next day it got up to 30 degrees Celsius, a dangerous heat for dogs.

Greatly worried for Juno’s safety, Inge contacted the local police but they ‘weren’t interested’.

“We called the emergencies and they said: ‘We don’t deal with dogs, only human emergencies’,” she said.

On the advice of a neighbour, the family spread the word with leaflets in the area and ‘all over Facebook’ on French local and lost dog pages.

Inge’s post on the Saint Gervais (Rhone-Alpes) Facebook page was shared about 100 times.

The owners also left a blanket with their phone number at the spot where Juno went missing, in case she returned.

“I was up there from dawn to late in the evening,” said Inge.

“We talked to everybody, I talked to every single walker I saw.

“We were getting a bit desperate. Two nights away in a vast area, in a foreign country and she’s only 10 months old. She could have been anywhere.”

On Sunday, they got a call that she was spotted up in the mountains.

“I walked all the way up to the top and back – so did my son and husband – nothing,” said Inge.

Then they were contacted by a helicopter rescue team. Juno had been found stuck in the rocks by a lake, in a nature reserve on the other side of the mountain to where the family had been looking.

Juno had walked hundreds of miles, says Inge, but, nonetheless, stuck to the wider area where she was lost, not going out to the main road.

The rescue team thought the dog’s owner might be nearby and in trouble – so went looking for them.

Learning that Juno was a lost dog, the rescue team acted, even though it does not typically rescue dogs.

“I can’t tell you how relieved we were,” said Inge.

“Juno was very skinny, very tired but unhurt and very happy to see us.

“When we got home she had a big meal and fell asleep straight away.

“She was a very, very lucky girl. She would have died out there, we would never have found her by ourselves. We were relying on the thousands of walkers.

“The community here are so close-knit and on the ball.

“She’s famous now in the dog-walking community, everybody here knows Juno. News travels fast.”

Following her antics, Juno is back on ‘the long lead of shame’ for her walks.

Juno was particularly fortunate as the family were told the rescue team does not conduct dog rescues and does not want to be known for doing this.

“I understand, but it’s a shame because dogs are part of the family,” said Inge.

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