The hunt for a dog who was thought to be missing after a house fire in Tring has come to a sad end after the discovery of his body.
Jack Russell terrier cross Gerald was found on the landing at the top of the stairs by builders who were clearing the Miswell Lane flat of debris.
Paula Goodman, who lived in the flat with husband Ged, managed to escape the inferno back in May after the fire started in the early hours, but no one could find Gerald.
Fire crews searched the flat but didn’t find the dog, leading them to suspect that he had run away.
The family put posters up around Tring and soon the whole town was on the lookout for the canine, with the news reaching as far as Thame and Kings Langley.
But when builders started clearing the site as part of renovation work, they were sad to find Gerald inside.
The couple’s son Matthew said: “What we now think happened is that he was overcome by the fumes, passed out and everything came down on top of him, protecting him from the fire. The vet said he wouldn’t have suffered.
“Mum is actually a lot happier now, because she knows what happened.
“She hated the thought of him being out at night and dying from the cold.”
The exact cause of the fire is still not known, but is thought to have been started by either a cigarette or a candle.
Paula and Ged are currently being housed in a flat in Berkhamsted while they wait for their home, which should be habitable again in around three to six months.
They plan to have Gerald cremated and his ashes spread in his favourite spot for walks, among the bluebells on the Ashridge estate.
Matthew said: “We just wanted to let everyone know, and to thank the people who helped us search for Gerald.
“In particular, the charity DogLost were amazing. They were out every night with torches and were the first to follow up any leads, so I’d like to say a special thanks to them. We can put it to rest now.”