A seven-year-old has been reunited with her adorable pet rabbit.

Athena Lowes “burst into floods of tears” when she learned Pearl, her Mini Lop rabbit, had managed to find a small hole in the fence and escaped while they were cleaning her hutch.

Her mum, Tanja Gullestrup-Lowes, said: “When I broke the news to Athena she burst into floods of tears. She thought Pearl would get hit by a car.

“We searched the whole neighbourhood for Pearl and put up posters hoping someone would find her.”

Luckily, someone did.

A kind member of the public found Pearl not far from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and dropped her off at the centre.

Amy Baird, who works at Battersea, offered to give the rabbit a home. However a few days later another member of staff spotted a poster with Pearl’s image, written in child’s handwriting that said: “Have you seen this rabbit?”

The animal shelter contacted the family.

Tanja said: “She was missing for five days and every day when Athena came back from school, she would ask if anyone had found her. When Battersea called, she was so relieved and happy to hear Pearl was safe.”

Battersea’s Amy Baird said: “It was sad to have to give up Pearl, she’s such a lovely rabbit and I’d really fallen for her. But it’s great that she’s been reunited with her family and that it’s made Athena so happy. We see a lot of reunites at Battersea, but they’re all dogs and cats- so this was a bit different”

Battersea’s centre manager Robert Young added: “So far this year, we’ve helped to reunite 461 dogs, 307 cats and one rabbit with their owners.

“While I don’t think we’ll be changing our name to Battersea Dogs, Cats & Rabbits Home any time soon, it’s lovely that this bunny tale had a happy ending.

“On a more serious note, if people do have animals other than dogs and cats they need to rehome, we’d ask them to take them to a specialist charity or a wildlife centre.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities to keep them here at Battersea - and we might not always have a staff member with a spare hutch.”