A MISSING dog who sparked a 10-day hunt is safely back home, thanks to Facebook.

Cockapoo Alfie escaped from his back garden on December 23, and wandered for miles before he was found safe and well on Wednesday.

Distraught owners Mark and Emma Wimhurst, who walked for miles over the Christmas period to try and find their pet, said they have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the help they have received.

“The reaction people have had has been astonishing,” said Mrs Wimhurst of Holt Wood, near Wimborne.

“So many people have selflessly given up their own time. I could have galvanised 100 people to search for Alfie – it was absolutely wonderful. When we told people Alfie had been found, there was a huge outpouring of emotion – people were crying with joy that he was safe.”

The couple’s friend Kerry Thompson started a Facebook group called Bring Alfie Home after he disappeared, and more than 120 people signed up to help.

Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen also got involved, regularly posting updates on their popular Twitter and Facebook pages, and many from the community went out to help find the two-year-old dog.

Mrs Wimhurst said: “I've had people saying I should write a book of Alfie's adventures.

“If we plotted his journey on a Google map, it would show how far he went.

“Once he left our house, he went nearly as far as the A3, and then he made a decision about whether he should go left or right. He went right to Cannon Hill and back over the top of Leigh Lane to stay in the area.”

Alfie was found in the garden of a local lady called Lyn after Mrs Wimhurst put his basket there, as he had been spotted visiting twice before.

“Lyn is someone I’d never met before all of this, but she said Mark could camp in the garden to see if Alfie came back,” Mrs Wimhurst said. “When he walked into the garden, Alfie was sat there. He just came running for him. It’s a very happy ending, and it wouldn’t have happened without Facebook.”