Head Geoff Haley wasn't going to let a newly-laid road get in his way when his dog got stuck down a drain.
The head of Moorside primary in Consett spent the night digging through Tarmac and concrete to reach Ben who had disappeared into a maze of pipes and storm drains on a walk.
Geoff tracked the pipe under fields to a new housing estate where Ben's faint yelps could be heard from a manhole cover. Geoff reached for his shovel and started digging.
As night fell, help arrived. A former parent brought a saw, another provided hot sausages.
After dawn, the estate's builders turned up with a mechanical digger. Ben came out covered in mud and slime to a round of applause at 8.30am - 19 hours after disappearing. Geoff went off to school.
Fame rests uneasily on his shoulders - muttering something about "silly season" he admitted passing up the chance to appear on Radio 5 Live to take assembly.