IT has taken countless kind-hearted volunteers, hundreds of missing posters and a whole lot of dedication to reunite an elusive rescue dog with his new owner after seven-weeks apart.

Street-dog Bear was transported to Blackburn after being rescued from a slaughter house in Romania by dog rescue charity Team Chance in April.

And when Emily Houghton saw an appeal to find the 12-year-old dog a home, it was love at first sight and she knew she would be the one to give him a loving home for the rest of his days.

But disaster soon struck as after travelling hundreds of miles from Romania to East Lancashire, the timid dog, who may only have ever experienced life on the streets, chewed through his lead and bolted into the blue.

Devastated Emily Houghton said she was frantic with worry.

She said: “I just didn’t know what to do - I was distraught. I felt so guilty that I hadn’t even got him through the front door and he had disappeared.”

Ms Houghton reached out for the help of family and friends on Facebook and her appeal was soon seen by hundreds of people - including volunteers from Harvey’s Army, a charity that helps to reunite missing dogs with their loved-ones.

A Facebook group dedicated to getting Bear home amassed over 350 members and soon the whole area was out looking for the lost dog.

Harvey’s Army volunteer Linda Tipping was instrumental in Bear’s capture, searching for him every day he was missing.

She said: “We were really trying everything, including linking-up with Canine Capture, a specialist dog-tracking company.

“People were reporting sightings to us so we would leave food out for him in that area and put out camera in hope of spotting him.

“We were out daily postering, checking cameras, and replenishing food.

“There was one point when a sighting wasn’t made for a week and I was starting to think the worst may have happened.”

Luckily, he was soon seen again and a team of volunteers were able to capture Bear.

by luring him into a cage with an automatic closing door.

Ms Tipping said: “We just couldn’t believe it – it felt as though we had been looking and trying to catch him forever.”

Caring supporters have now set up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to raise £3,000 to help to cover the costs of vet bills and medical treatment Bear needs.

Ms Tipping said: “He has a bad leg - we don’t know if that’s from an injury he sustained here or an old injury from Romania - but it is going to cost a lot to get him on the mend.”

Delighted Ms Houghton added: “I’m just so grateful for all the people who have helped us - this wouldn’t have been possible without them.

“My main aim now is to get Bear used to his new life and settled in my home.

“I just want to do my best by this beautiful dog.”