I am sure most of you have been following the story of Rusty’s disappearance on The Buzz over the last two weeks. I asked Renee, Rusty’s owner to write us the story of what happened, not just to share with you all, but also as a thank you to the community that chipped in!
Rusty is quite the local celebrity!! Here is the story in Renee’s words……
The adventures of Rusty…..
Rusty is our beloved family dog and has been since we got him as a puppy in 2010. We have no idea what breed he is – he was purchased as a beagle x king Charles cavalier but when he grew we quickly realised he was not.
We were taking a family trip to Queensland and my grandparents who reside in Flagstaff Hill agreed to dog sit Rusty for us. Rusty is very familiar with them and their home as when we were between homes he lived there for 12 months.
Rusty was dropped off to my grandparents Mary and Alan on Tuesday 26th April ready for his stay at the doggy Hilton as we call it.
On Thursday 28th we flew out to Queensland. That afternoon my grandmother Mary was at the front door talking to a workman as they have been having lots of trees trimmed in their street and area recently. While chatting a branch fell and make a loud noise in the front yard. This spooked Rusty and he made a mad dash for the front door pushing straight past my grandmother and heading down the street.
Rusty is a runner! He has only ever gotten lost once before and was only gone for a couple of hours before being returned. If he gets out he loves to play chasey. My 3 year old son and Rusty are forever running through the house and yard chasing each other. It does not surprise me that he decided on this day to go for a run. My grandparents being 80 years old could not chase him. Although a few people who were in the street had attempted to chase and catch him but he is quick!
Meredith, my grandparents lovely next door neighbour jumped in to help with the recovery of Rusty. She quickly placed a notice on the lost dogs sites available on Facebook, which was then shared to The Blackwood Buzz page, this quickly alerted everyone that Rusty was on the loose!
On the first day of Rusty’s adventure Meredith received over 21 phone calls and sightings of Rusty. He was everywhere! My grandparents attempted to get to where he was spotted but were always just a little bit too late. Rusty probably still believed he was winning the longest game of chasey he has ever played.
At this point he was being spotted running on Main Road and Shepherds Hill Road into oncoming traffic. The biggest concern was that he doesn’t have much road sense and that he would be hit by a car. Our Rusty has more lives than a cat and managed to navigate these roads without injury. He was last spotted on Friday 29th heading through the Foodland car park towards Chapman and Melton Streets in Blackwood.
On Saturday morning we received the call from an upset Mary who advised us that Rusty had escaped and efforts so far had not yet got him home. Being in Queensland there was not much we could do with being out there and searching but we contacted the available Facebook sites and also a friend of ours who runs the “Lost Pets of Adelaide” site.
Where would he go? What would he do? If only he could talk I am sure he would have some stories to tell!
Sightings were still coming in, but fewer and further between. He was definitely on the move so one day he could be in Blackwood, the next day Flagstaff Hill and then the next day somewhere else.
This is where the community involvement shocked us. We could not believe how many people were looking for our Rusty! People we had never met, didn’t know and who had no connection to us, our family or Rusty were taking time out of their days to walk and drive and search for our boy. Being so far away we could not appreciate this more… the community was doing what we would be doing if we were in the State.
We arrived home on Tuesday 3rd May. At this point the last confirmed sighting was on the Saturday afternoon on Grand Blvd in Craigburn Farm with a possible sighting on the Monday on Sturt Ave, Hawthorndene.
Tuesday night my husband and I set out with our two sleepy toddlers to search for Rusty. According to the toddlers we were just driving around so they could watch a movie on the car TV!! We searched the last two sighting locations but it was quite hard in the dark and we were not sure he was still in the area.
From then everyday was spent driving around the area. With so many reserves and parks he could have easily been moving and hiding out away from people and staying out of sight. We took comfort in the fact that there was lost of water around so we knew at the least he was getting a drink.
As days went with no sightings we continued to look but there was such a large area to cover. We could only speculate… where would he go for shelter? Food?
On Friday night I received a call that gave us some hope. A lovely lady believed she may have seen Rusty that evening as it was getting dark in the Sturt Gorge, Flagstaff Hill only a few streets away from where Rusty went missing. My husband jumped straight into the car and headed to the location. He walked the Gorge as far as he could in the dark while still staying safe. At this point we didn’t need a missing dog and a missing husband.
This gave us a better location. I had spoken to people who were going to search for Rusty on the Saturday. Again the community participation and support was fantastic. So many people had seen the latest post sighting and were set to tackle the Gorge and hunt for Rusty. Saturday morning I was preparing to get the kids ready as we were heading out to walk the gorge and hopefully draw Rusty out with our familiar voices.
My phone rang – a number I didn’t know but I was used to these calls as lots of people were involved in looking for Rusty. I answered thinking that this could be a fresh sighting and we could target our search. What I didn’t expect was what happened next.
The lovely lady on the other end of the phone said “I think I have your dog in my yard!” These were the best words I could have heard. I described Rusty, medium size, gold in colour with short hair as he had been recently groomed. Black collar with green registration disc. It all matched! I quickly got organised to get to her home and confirm. I jumped on the Facebook and saw two photos that she had posted on the site and sure enough it was our Rusty!
Rusty had wandered up to her back door. At this point I can only assume he was hungry and looking for some food. There were dogs in her home so he probably though that meant a good chance of getting some food!
After 9 nights on the run through the area with the whole community on the look out for him, he just wandered into someone’s yard!
I cant thank the lovely family who took him in and fed him while they waited to contact me and for him to be collected.
Upon opening the front door Rusty was beside himself with excitement. I think he realised he had taken his game of chasey a little bit too far this time and was searching for home! Dionne from Lost dogs of Adelaide and her friend were all set to search for Rusty that morning so instead met me at his homecoming! He seemed quite pleased and excited to have a little welcome party. I hope the fame doesn’t go to his head!
His homecoming was emotional. To see the look on my children’s and husbands face when we walked through the front door. If we weren’t so relieved to have him home safely he might have been in some trouble! Instead he was showered with cuddles and love.
As a consequence for his disappearing act he did have to visit the vet within a few hours of being home. With the exception of a small amount of weight loss and sore, grazed pads on his paws from his running he is in good health. With a few days of rest and some regular eating he should bounce back in no time!
I placed a post on the Blackwood Buzz page of Rusty’s homecoming and could not believe the response. Between my post and the post of him being found he received over 800 likes and over 300 comments!! I was shocked! The emotion and excitement for his homecoming was overwhelming. There were tears, celebrations and lots of suggestions for Rusty’s future career! He is now quite a famous dog in the area.
Rusty has been enjoying the past couple of days by sleeping in his cosy warm bed. I think he is a little exhausted after his big adventure! He has received lots of cuddles and treats. We are so relieved to have him home safely – he is definitely 1 lucky dog!
Renee (and Rusty…)