A CORNUBIA couple who were holidaying at Worendo Cottages have been happily reunited with their little dog, Sasha, after the Maltese Shitzu cross spent seven days lost in bushland at Darlington .
Her owner Claire Allen said she spent a sleepless Christmas Eve after searching everywhere for Sasha, who took off during the storm.
"Sasha is small and she's old - we got her when she was two and we've had her for about 12 years now," she said.
"In the last 12 months she had become quite deaf and also suffering from anxiety.
"She often seems a bit nervous and lost, which the vet thought might have been a bit of doggy dementia so the thought of her out there alone was terrible.
"We went out in the storm and looked everywhere for her but even calling her we knew she would probably not hear us."
Ms Allen said she had been overwhelmed by the kindness and support received when she was at her lowest.
"I don't usually post things on Facebook but it was worth a try and the original post on my own page was shared more than 2500 times," she said.
"I was overwhelmed by the response and the number of messages of support and encouraging me not to give up hope.
"Honestly, she's such a little dog, she's old and she was out there all on her own. I did not think she could have survived that."
Ms Allen said it had been difficult to head home without Sasha when the holiday came to an end.
"I was sobbing when we had to leave on Friday," she said.
"I came back on Saturday to have another look and Nathan from Worendo Cottages was still upset himself that she hadn't been found.
"Then on New Years Eve, Nathan saw Sasha walking along the road 4.3 kilometres from Worendo Cottages.
"It was amazing that of all the people looking out for her it was Nathan who found her.
"I cried when he called to tell me."
Ms Allen said Sasha was dehydrated, painfully thin and wobbly on her legs when she was found.
"We took her straight to the vets and they found five ticks on her, they thing that might have been the first stages of tick paralysis.
"It was a miracle she was found at that time because another 24 hours and the tick paralysis might have got her.
"She has had treatment for tick paralysis and she's much better now, although a bit scraggly and quiet. I don't think she had eaten because she was skin and bone but we are hand feeding her slowly to get her strength up."
Ms Allen said she was beyond grateful for the support received while Sasha was missing.
"It was truly overwhelming, the number of personal messages I received," she said.
"I'm not letting Sasha out of my sight but I will get a doggy GPS chip and whenever I see a Facebook post similar to mine I will make sure to share it."