Police, firefighters and coastguards came up with an imaginative idea of attaching a sausage to a drone and hoping the scent of the treat would tempt Millie the jack russell-whippet cross to safety.
Millie disappeared after slipping her lead in Havant, Hampshire, and after frantic public appeals was spotted on the mudflats, in danger of being engulfed by the tide.
Millie resisted efforts to encourage her to a safer spot until a drone pilot suggested attaching food to one of the unmanned aerial vehicles that had been used to track the dog.
“It was a crazy idea,” said Chris Taylor, the chair of the Denmead Drone Search and Rescue team.
Taylor said: “One of the local residents on the beach where we were flying from supplied us with the sausages – I think they were from Aldi. The woman cooked them up for us and we attached them with string.”
To the joy of the rescuers, Millie took the bait.
“If we hadn’t had got her away from that area the tide would have come in and she would have been at risk of drowning,” said Taylor.
“It was something we had never tried before – the sausages were the last resort, as we couldn’t reach her by kayak or any other means.
“Because Millie was hungry it worked at luring her away from the danger to higher ground, which wouldn’t go underwater. We certainly would consider using sausages again: every dog and search operation is always going to be different, but if we were ever in a similar situation again we would employ the same methods to lure the dog.”
Millie was then reunited with her owners.