MEET Ollie the intrepid terrier, who turned Houdini on a walk with his owner.
But unlike the famous escapologist, Ollie’s disappearing trick went a little awry – and firefighters spent nearly four hours trying to find him.
Specialist equipment usually used to detect people trapped in rubble and a snake-eye telescopic camera had to be drafted in to the hunt for the six-year-old.
He disappeared down a foxhole while out walking with Elly Thynne, 17, in Tile Shed Lane nature reserve in East Boldon.
The pet, along with brother Leo, had dived down the hole in their quest for adventure, but while Leo quickly emerged, Ollie was a little too podgy to get back out of the hole.
In a bid to free himself, he got lost in a warren of tunnels under the ground.
Andy Barber, watch manager from Fulwell fire station, said: “When we first arrived, we heard him scratching, but after a few hours we had difficulty finding a sound.
“It was in a wooded copse, and we think he must have gone deep into a warren of tunnels.
“We never like doing it, but eventually we had to tell the owner that we were going to have to give up the search.”
Determined to find their beloved pet, the Thynnes continued the search in the woods, and soon after the firefighters left, they heard him underground.
The crew rushed back and were able to find him straight away.
Andy added: “He must have got lost, but had come back to the hole where he originally disappeared.
“We carefully dug to find the other side of the opening, and were able to get him out.”
Ollie is now back home in Cleadon Village, recovering from Sunday night’s ordeal.
Owner Paul Thynne said: “We were devastated when he went missing, as we class them as one of the family.
“Elly rang me as soon as it happened – we could hear him under the ground, we just couldn’t see him.
“He’s very traumatised and was mucky beyond belief when he came out of the hole.
“He is OK now – he is just lying down at home now, feeling a bit sorry for himself.
“He’s known as the bad boy of the brothers now.”
He added: “The fire brigade were brilliant. When we heard him again after they called off the search, they came back as soon as we rang them.”