When man’s best friend goes missing all stops are pulled out to reunite the two – but one north Suffolk woman has gone further than most, chartering a helicopter to find her missing pets.

Sabrina Wheetman has spent anxious weeks scouring the south Norfolk and north Suffolk countryside since Spook and Buffy escaped her garden in Syleham, near Harleston, one night.

But after the traditional methods of driving around, putting up posters, failed to find the trail hound and German shepherd Ms Wheetman went one step further, taking to the skies.

“I know someone who has a small plane and he said he would take me up to see if we could track down the dogs,” she said. “But it was too wet to take off on grass. My friend then contacted Seething airfield instead and they said they’d be happy to help.

“A pilot took me up in his helicopter and we went round south Norfolk for 45 minutes. They only charged me for the fuel, which came to about £35, which was incredibly kind of them.”

Pilot John Baker said it was the first time in a decades-long flying career he had been asked to help look for a dog and that he had been happy to help.

“It’s not out of the ordinary to be asked to help look for something but missing dogs are a first,” he said. “She said they had been sighted a couple of times in the Pulham area but sadly we couldn’t find them.

“I once helped out a government official who wanted to test a new infrared thermalling device on finding swans at Haddiscoe – that would have been a useful bit of kit for finding Spook and Buffy but was sadly unavailable.”

Ms Wheetman, 47, a student nurse, said someone had called to say they had spotted a German shepherd near Pulham Market but nothing could be seen from the helicopter – other than dogs clearly out walking with their owners.

“We’ve had two calls about a dog matching Buffy’s description being seen in Broome, another by the Hempnall cross roads, and today I dashed out after a white dog like Spook was found but again it wasn’t my dog.

“Each call has filled us with renewed hope, only to be replaced with total despair. My hope is that they were given a home by someone and are being well looked after. The alternative is something we dare not contemplate. But not knowing what has become of them is putting a strain on all of us.”

Ms Wheetman said she was offering a £100 reward for the safe return of either or both dogs, and anyone who recognises either is asked to call her on 01379 668486.

“It’s difficult to know what to do next,” she added. “They’ve been missing since March 5, and not hearing now is almost preferable to the other options. It’s so upsetting – every time we go out to look, despite everything, you think this is the time, and then it’s so deflating when it’s not. We just want our pets back, desperately.”