A family dog which went missing in December was found nestled next to an inflatable Santa Claus in a Croxley Green garden after his owners launched a campaign to get him back before Christmas.

Jack, a two-year-old Jack Russell Yorkshire Terrier cross, disappeared from the back garden of his Whippendell Road home on December 8.

His owner, Siobhan Roberts, had gone out to pick up her daughter from school and when she returned, the dog was gone.

Along with her 42-year-old husband Sean, and children Kiera, 12, Caitlin, 9, David, 4, and Rosemarie, 4, Mrs Roberts launched a search culminating in a party of 50 people looking across Watford and Three Rivers.

The 38-year-old said: "When we got home Jack was gone. We went out looking and the hairdresser in Queens Avenue said she saw him heading out towards Rickmansworth Road.

"We fell to pieces because that road is so busy. Our neighbour drove us around trying to find him. The following day we registered him on a lost dog website and made posters to put up.

"This dog is absolutely everything to us. We were constantly going out searching for him, around the industrial estate and covering as much as we could.

"Someone even saw him in our street but, he was running up and down and no one could catch him."

Mrs Roberts said they adopted Jack from his original owner while on a family holiday in Norfolk.

She said: "I was very sick when I was pregnant with the twins. I had blood clots which went to my heart and lungs and nearly died.

"Afterwards I suffered very badly with depression, and that had a knock on effect on the whole family.

"This dog brought this new lease of life to the family, he was the missing part of our puzzle. He’s transformed our whole house and has brought so much joy and happiness to us.

"After feeling so broken he just glued things back together."

The family contacted local vets and the dog warden, and arranged a search party to meet in the Harvester car park on December 15.

Mrs Roberts said: "We all met at the Harvester because there were a few sightings near the Croxley Green station. "We had 40 to 50 people and we went out to the moors and Cassiobury Park, covering the whole area where the sightings had been."

The search was coordinated on a Facebook page called "Get Jack Home for Christmas".

Mrs Roberts said: "We never lost faith that we would find him, but I had terrible thoughts about what might happen. He was seen running around some very busy roads.

"We were getting message after message about sightings and people saying they’d been out searching for him.

"The support from the community was massive, immense, people we didn’t even know were getting in touch."

Then, two weeks to the day that Jack went missing, he was spotted nestled in between an inflatable reindeer and Father Christmas in a Croxley Green garden.

Mrs Roberts added: "The dog warden said sometimes dogs run so far that they get to a point where they just have to find refuge somewhere. He’d just run himself down.

"Everyone picked up very early on how much this dog means to us and that not getting him back was not an option.

"We will never be able to put into words how grateful we are. Getting him back was the best present ever."