A family's beloved Toy Cockapoo has been reunited with his owners in time for the new year after going missing while on a run in an Ipswich park.

Smudge, aged one and a half, was out with his owner Sam Mitson in Orwell Country Park on Christmas Eve when he suddenly disappeared into some woodland.

Mr Mitson, his wife Rachel and their daughter launched an urgent appeal to find their pet, posting on social media and placing posters in and around the park, which they returned to every day.


Unbeknownst to the family from Dorset, Smudge was still in the park.

He was discovered in the brambles by a woman and two young boys five days later, prompting an emotional reunion.

The family has been staying with loved ones in Ipswich for Christmas but were facing the prospect of returning home without Smudge.

Mr Mitson said he was "in tears" when he was finally reunited with Smudge after receiving a call on Wednesday evening.

He said: "We're overwhelmed — it's been a hectic five days.

"We heard that someone had spotted a dog in the woods in the park, and a lady and two boys got him out of the brambles.

"I was in tears when I saw him. We are very surprised to see him in such a good condition. We took him to the vets and he's lost a little bit of weight, but apart from that he's fine.

"I think it helped that the weather was not freezing for the last few days. I don't think he's eaten at all, but he had a lot to eat when we got him back in."

Mr Mitson said Smudge would likely only be found with a drone, if he had not been stolen.

The couple paid tribute to the Ipswich community for their help in the search for Smudge over the festive period.

Mr Mitson added: "If it wasn't for people looking, we wouldn't have found him. We are just so pleased about how many people took an interest, especially at Christmas. People gave up so much time."