A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy with learning disabilities has been been praised as a "hero" for helping save the life of a missing dog.

Seven-year-old Patterdale Terrier, Tilli, escaped from a garden of a property in Llangollen over the scorching hot July 16 and 17 weekend.

Tilli's owner, Jan Parrish, said: "She was missing for three days, and, with her being a Patterdale, we feared she'd fallen in to the wrong hands as they are highly sought after by people for hunting purposes. She's actually a dog rescued from being used for hunting.

"As she'd been missing for three days, and with the weather so incredibly hot, we really feared the worst. We were heartbroken, as was my little puppy - who wasn't eating due to missing Tilli so much."

Ryan Coates (pictured left), Jan Parrish and Tilli.Tilli.

But Tilli's "guardian angel" came in the form of young Ryan Coates.

He was travelling in a car along the A5 when the sharp-eyed nine-year-old spotted Tilli under a tree on a steep slope. 

As Ms Parrish had widely circulated a social media appeal for information regarding Tilli's whereabouts, she was contacted about the sighting. 

She said: "We got in the car and drove to the location, and we spotted her lying under the tree. Our first thought was that she was dead. 

"We couldn't get to her due to the steep slope, but by sheer luck - a fire engine pulled up behind us."

The firefighters asked what was going on, and quickly set about saving Tilli.

When they reached her, they found her paw had got stuck in a wired fence. 

Ms Parrish said: "We wouldn't have been able to free her, and we can't thank the firefighters enough.

"But without Ryan, she would never have been seen - and she wouldn't have survived for much longer.

"Ryan Coates is our and Tilli's hero."

Ms Parrish gave Ryan,who attends Ysgol y Gwernant in Llangollen, a £100 cash reward, a gift and a card to say thank you.

Ryan Coates (pictured left), Jan Parrish and Tilli.Ryan with his rewards.

"It's the least he deserves," she said. 

"We want him to feel amazing about himself."

Hundreds of people shared Ms Parrish's social media appeal.

She said: "Thankyou all for your support. We've only been living here a year and I'm overwhelmed by the community spirit.

"It's so comforting to know there are so many wonderful people living around this beautiful Vale of Llangollen."

Amazingly, the firefighter who cut the wire turned out to be Ryan's uncle.

Ryan has learning disabilities, and his mum, Terrianne, couldn't be prouder of him.

Ryan Coates (pictured left), Jan Parrish and Tilli.

She said: "Ryan is overjoyed, bless him. He really struggles with learning and absorbing information and has a very poor memory, so this was just amazing to be honest.

"I am so very proud of Ryan and the little gentleman he has turned into.

"Being able to help Jan and Jon by finding Tilli has made his year and he has very much enjoyed being the local celebrity."