Pets that make epic treks is staple of forteana. This example is especially wonderful because of the fab Aussie place names like Woy Woy and Punchbowl and because Rusty had been dyed PINK! Did Rusty run away from home so he could come out of the closet? Was he stolen by nomadic beauticians? Was he the beloved pet of playful stoners?
Owners tickled pink at finding Rusty
Sydney Morning Herald
July 26, 2007
If Rusty, the eight-year-old Maltese poodle cross, could talk he would have one big tale to tell.
The pet of Shirley and Dennis Lowry disappeared in a matter of seconds while on a daily walk to a corner shop at Woy Woy on the Central Coast almost three months ago.
The odyssey ended when Rusty was found by a council dog catcher in Darwin 3700 kilometres from his home.
A relieved, and at times close to tears, Mrs Lowry said today she had never given up hope that Rusty would be found.
The Lowrys were reunited with their pet at Sydney Airport at dawn today when the dog arrived on a Qantas flight, the $421 cargo fee waived.
The Lowrys, who drove from their home in Waterloo Avenue, said they were stunned at the filthy state Rusty was in.
“We don’t know what has happened to him. He’s full of ticks and fleas and I’ve had to give him a good bath as he was covered in brown dust and whoever had him had dyed his hair pink. I’m about to wash the colour out,” Mrs Lowry said at her home this morning.
“He was listless and at first, I thought he did not recognise us but he was tired from the long flight and slept in the car all the way back to Woy Woy,” she said.
Mrs Lowry said that Rusty disappeared on May 7 during her regular 8am walk to a corner shop on Trafalgar Street and Waterloo Avenue, just 50 metres from her home.
She said at the time he was wearing a blue diamante collar and was on a red lead.
“I got him as a puppy when he was six weeks old and he rarely leaves my side,” said Mrs Lowry, who has five daughters.
“I took him for a walk to the shop to buy a newspaper, which I do every day and tied his lead to a pole outside and went in and also bought a loaf of bread,” she said.
Mrs Lowry said Rusty disappeared in “a matter of seconds not minutes”.
“When I came out of the shop, he was gone and a woman said to me, ‘Are you looking for a little white dog?’ I said ‘yes’ and she said she saw a man riding a bicycle on Trafalgar Street pulling a lead. I panicked and ran up the road but he had gone.”
Mr and Mrs Lowry, who moved to Woy Woy from Punchbowl 36 years ago, mounted a search of surrounding streets enlisting the help of their daughters and local children.
They reported Rusty missing to Woy Woy police and had 50 posters printed with his photo which they taped to power poles in the area.
But strangely, they found other posters of missing dogs plastered around Woy Woy. Eight canines had gone missing in the area that week.
Mrs Lowry said she even contacted Gosford Council, the RSPCA and went on local radio appealing for help.
“The pound rang up one day and said, ‘We’ve got a little dog here and we think it’s yours, but it was not Rusty,’ ” she said.
Then on Tuesday, at 4pm, they received a phone call from a worker at the Darwin city pound, who said a microchip implanted in Rusty when he was 10 months, had given their number and address.
“They weren’t able to say where he was found, only that he had been picked up by a ranger. It is bizarre, it is very bizarre why anyone would want to take him,” Mrs Lowry said.
“I still held hopes of him coming back. I kept all of his flea stuff, shampoo, and his basket,” she said.