iny dog just 12-inches long survives EIGHT DAYS trapped on windswept Ben Nevis, evading wild cats and living off rubbish
He may look like a pampered pooch but this miracle mutt is a little fighter who has survived more than a week in the Scottish highlands evading the clutches of hungry predators.
Pico the miniature Pinscher, has today been reunited with his relieved owner Brian Shields, 74, after the four-year-old ran away eight days ago during a a storm on a walking holiday near Ben Nevis.
The dog, which is barely bigger than a box of tissues, stayed alive by living off ramblers' rubbish.
Retired shoe salesman Mr Smith desperately searched for his beloved pet but eventually gave up after becoming convinced the animal didn't stand a chance against the areas wild cats, golden eagles and foxes.
He reluctantly travelled 500 miles back to his home in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, but the grandfather-of-two was amazed when more than a week later he received a call from walker Anthony Angus, 51, who spotted Pico running around the Grampians who had found his dishevelled pet wandering 900ft up a hill.
Incredibly the animal was still carrying its owner's contact details on its lead and so after being contacted Mr Smith jumped in his car to make the 1,000-mile round trip back to Scotland to bring Pico home.
Mr Smith said: 'I have four dogs altogether but the house was like a morgue without Pico.'
He added: 'It is a bit of a mystery how he survived we think he must have hidden under caravans and in camp sites.
'He is a tough little guy but he needs food - he probably rummaged through bins or maybe even ate grass - you never know what animals do when they are desperate.'
He said losing Pico was the worst day of his life adding: 'I had been camping with Pico before but luckily I kept his lead and collar on.
'The weather was terrible throughout the night and when I woke in the morning Pico had fled because of a thunderstorm.
'I searched around the site and the nearby area but I couldn’t find him.
'The next day I thought there was just no point in continuing. I had searched everywhere I could think of.
'I returned home feeling absolutely terrible. I felt so guilty for leaving him, I really thought he was dead.
'I was so worried he had been snatched by a fox. I had all sorts of visions about him lying dead in a ditch somewhere.
'I’m just amazed he survived that long in the hills, he’s a domestic pedigree and he’s not very big.
'I was just overwhelmed to receive news that Pico had been found and was alive.
Source: Daily Mail
'He had lost so much weight his collar, which had my phone number on it, could be pulled over his head. I’m amazed it stayed on.
Brian was camping with Pico at Glen Nevis on May 13 when the dog ran off, from their campsite.
Despite hours of searching the local hillsides with the help of a local rescue team, Pico failed to turn up and Brian returned home to mourn his pet.