Last updated 20:56, April 4 2015
A deaf, blind dog seemed to be up against the odds when he became lost in mangroves, but thousands of animal lovers came to his rescue.
Owner Angela Beer said she tried not to fear the worst when she discovered her 15-year-old jack russell missing from its home in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Westmere.
“I didn’t want to think he was injured, alone and dying in the dark.”
She had been looking after her sick mum while some friends house-sat on Saturday night, March 28, when the dog escaped.
Refusing to give up hope, Beer sprang into action and posted missing posters on social media.
She said she was taken aback by the response as thousands of people shared her post online.
A land, sea and air search was launched to find her little disabled dog, with kayaks, a drone and even a helicopter helping in the four-day search.
Three-hundred volunteers – many of them strangers – also arrived to scour the mangrove 300 metres from her house, she said.
The search party included people from all walks of life, including a local homeless man who kept vigil at night, she said.
However, Beer said she feared they were all searching for a body.
Dunhill was used to life in his sheltered Westmere manor where his owner pandered to his every need, she said.
“He’s not a world-weary traveller.”
But miraculously, the dog was found. Beer’s next door neighbour found Dunhill in the middle of the swamp on April 1.
“He was covered in mud because he was in the mangroves.
“He was hypothermic and dehydrated. I don’t know how he survived.
“She bundled him up in a cardigan and rushed him to my house.”
After a few days recovering at the vet, Dunhill has just returned home.
The devoted owner can still smile about the trouble her dog put her through.
“That was an amazing April fools’ day joke he played on me,” she said.
The ordeal has taught her about the amazing kindness of strangers, she said.
“Dunhill wants to thank his heroes and all the friends he never knew he had.”