THERE were tears of joy this week when a plucky rescue dog was safely reunited with her family in Kingswinford after surviving an incredible 57 days in the wild.

Young black and tan cross Betsy had been missing since November 29 when she slipped her harness in Mill Street, Brierley Hill, as she was being taken to the vets.

The tiny Romanian rescue dog dashed into the road and became trapped under a car but before owner Claire Ball and others could secure her - the vehicle moved slightly and the Betsy made a run for it.

No-one could catch her and despite sightings later that day at Rose Hill, Quarry Bank, and Mouseweet Brook Nature Reserve - the little pooch evaded capture.

Determined to do all they could to try to get Betsy back, they enlisted the help of dog rescue volunteers Canine Capture UK CIC which worked with LOST DOG Capture Team CIC to try to help recapture the little one.

Feeding stations and cameras were positioned in places where members of the public thought they might have seen or heard Betsy.

Posters were put up and social media posts encouraging people to keep an eye out for Betsy, who could easily be mistaken for a cat or a fox due to her small build.

Dudley News: Betsy the dogBetsy the dog

But as the weeks went by, hopes of finding her started to fade - and Claire said she "feared the worst" especially as Betsy was believed to have suffered an injured paw in the road collision.

The charities, however, did not give up and early in the new year there were sightings of an animal believed to be Betsy near the vets where she went missing. It seemed the little dog had been retracing her steps trying to find her way home from the last place she'd seen her family.

Then on January 21 Betsy was reportedly seen heading into Saltwells Nature Reserve - just 1.5km from the vets.

The sighting lifted spirits that Betsy was still out there - so hundreds of posters were put up and feeding stations and remote cameras sited in the nature reserve.

Incredibly on January 24 at around 4am, a camera triggered - showing Betsy tucking into some food in the reserve. Claire, who was able to view the cameras from her phone, couldn't believe her eyes when she could see it was indeed her beloved Betsy.

The following day the dog rescue team cancelled all commitments and made their way to the reserve with a humane trap to try to secure Betsy and bring her back home.

Luckily, the 19-month-old pooch ventured into a trap at around 11.15pm that night and the team were able to reunite her with Claire and her partner Chris before Betsy's shock return was unveiled to their delighted children Lily and Evie, both 12, and Oliver, nine, on Tuesday morning.

Claire, a nurse at Stourbridge's Mary Stevens Hospice, said the children "couldn't believe it" and the little dog went "absolutely went ballistic" when they were reunited.

She said its believed Betsy, who was rescued from the streets of Romania as a puppy, had survived by scavenging on food from a nearby housing estate and hiding away in the woods, while periodically making her way back to the vets to try to find her family again.

Betsy was due to be checked over by a vet on Friday but Claire said she's doing remarkably well after her ordeal.

Dudley News: Betsy is recovering well after 57 days living roughBetsy is recovering well after 57 days living rough

To say thank you to the organisations that helped bring about the happy ending - she's now launched an online donation page

Claire said: "They were absolutely amazing.

"If it wasn't for them I don't think we'd have got her back."