MURPHY the Shar Pei may have been feeling a little ruff after spending the night in a pub.
But it was his owner Rob Flaherty who was in the dog house when his family thought he had lost the canny canine.
The shaggy dog tale began when Mr Flaherty let his trusty companion off the leash for a quick burst in the bushes while he walked along the Morpeth river bank.
He went home to High Stanners, expecting Murphy to follow him, but the dog did not return.
Meanwhile, landlord George Hall was locking up the Joiners Arms for the night when the dejected dog wandered in, looking for his master.
And he didn’t have the heart to turf him out.
Mr Flaherty said: “Murphy knows his way from the Joiners, through the park to home so I thought he would just come back shortly. I stayed on the sofa all night waiting for him, but he never came home.
“I went out at about six o’clock in the morning looking for him and thought I had completely lost him. My wife was going mad with me.
“At about 6.45am I got a phone call from a friend asking if I had picked the dog up. He was supposed to have phoned me the night before to tell me the dog was at the pub, but he fell asleep.
“It was such a relief so I went straight round. Murphy wasn’t fazed at all. He just strolled out as if it was nothing, cool as anything.
“I’ve lost him a few times before because he wanders off and I’ve found him in some strange places, but not quite as strange as the Joiners Arms.”
While Murphy seemed to enjoy his night out, the same couldn’t be said for Mr Hall, who spent a sleepless night keeping his guest company and even gave up his supper.
“He just wouldn’t settle or let me look at the tag on his collar to find out who owned him,” he said.
“I had a nice bit of ham put aside for my supper, but he soon polished that off. Then I had to spend the rest of the night keeping him company and let him do his business in the garden.
“I have dog biscuits in the bar because we get all sorts in here, from Great Danes to little Border Terriers, but it was just my luck that Murphy is a dedicated meat eater.
“But he is such a lovely character and I couldn’t put him out on the street.”
Murphy returned to his new-found local the next day with a thank you card and a £10 note to settle his B&B bill.