A STOLEN dog abandoned in the woods by thieves seemingly orchestrated his own rescue by "flagging down" a passing RSPCA van more than 160 kilometres from his home.
Alfie the Yorkshire Terrier caught the attention of RSPCA officer Stephanie Law as she drove down a country road in Buckinghamshire when he ran out of nearby woodland and into the middle of the lane, barking at her van.
Ms Law said she immediately stopped the car and opened the door to let Alfie jump inside. A scan of his microchip revealed he had been stolen from a house in Wednesbury in the West Midlands in March.
Ms Law said: "I have had plenty of people wave me down for help, but I have never actually been flagged down by a dog in need of rescue before.
"I was just driving down the deserted road when I saw Alfie run towards me, clearly trying to attract my attention.
"He ran right in front of the van, barking, and as soon as I stopped and opened the door he just bounded in and jumped onto the seat - and looked at me. It was as if he recognised my uniform and knew I was there to rescue him.
Alfie's owner Kirsty Mitton, 23, has another dog missing who is not microchipped.
She said: "We are over the moon to have Alfie back - we didn't think we would see him again, but so sad that Lillie is still missing.
"I just jumped straight in the car to drive the 112 miles as soon as I heard he was safe."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.