1. ITV Report

Dog home after escaping crash

Bear is reunited with his owner Photo: HIghways Agency

A treasured family pet that was stranded overnight at the side of a motorway has been reunited with his owners.

‘Bear’, a 10 month old St Bernard puppy from Southampton, escaped from his owner, Nathan Hardit's car, after it was involved in a crash on the M25 near Clacket Lane services on the Surrey / Kent border.

The startled dog escaped from the damaged back door where it ran across the motorway and into the road verge.

It looked as though he had disappeared into a neighbouring field and the dog’s owner, Nathan Hardit, had to eventually abandon the search.

But the following morning Bear was spotted next to the hard shoulder by a driver on the M25, and Highways Agency traffic officers Russell Bagshaw and Donald Corby were deployed to rescue him.

“The driver who spotted Bear reported seeing a ‘small horse’, so we were surprised when we found a dog at the side of the road instead. St Bernard’s have a reputation for rescuing people, so it was nice to be able to return the favour! He was not hurt, but was scared and disorientated, and not very pleased to see us! Even at 10 months, St Bernard’s are big dogs, so it was a real two man job to keep him under control and safe until Mr Hardit arrived to pick him up. The moment he saw his owner, Bear perked straight up, and it is great to know he is now safely at home.”

– Traffic officer, Russell Bagshaw

“I was in shock from the accident, and didn’t realise at first that the collision had caused the locked back door to come open. I ran after Bear on the road verge for ages, but all of a sudden he just wasn’t there any more. It was heartbreaking having to leave him behind. He is afraid of the dark, so a night outside in a strange place will have been a rough experience for him. We thought he must have run into a farmer’s field that was nearby. I feared the worst though, and I was so relieved to get the call this morning telling me he was okay. It is fantastic to have him home, and I am very grateful to the officers who helped keep my dog safe.”

– Bear’s owner, Nathan Hardit