Incredible story of how this dog found her way home

FOUR weeks ago, my girl Phedre took flight during a bad storm.

We live on a mountain in Georgica, and there is bushland and mountains for kilometres.

We can only guess she became so scared and discombobulated she just became lost, unable to scent her way home.

We were out immediately in our car, with most of the area only being accessible by car, calling for her.

Three days passed before people began seeing her.

She was so scared that no one could get very close to her but she had travelled all the way to Wadeville.

In the coming week we followed the sightings - Cawongla, Rock Valley, Kyogle tip, back around Georgica. We hung posters and touched base with locals and received an overwhelming amount of support and sympathy.

The online presence for her search yielded a fair number of sightings.

But she was moving so fast we couldn't catch up to her.

Everyone told us she looked like "a dog on a mission".

And she was, she was trying so hard to find home.

Georgica's Charlotte Shepherd was elated to find her dog Phedre after four weeks.
Georgica's Charlotte Shepherd was elated to find her dog Phedre after four weeks.

I was in contact with some local blokes with drone pilot licenses but the weather and the spaces simply didn't allow them to fly.

Around the two-week mark we began getting heaps of sightings around Nimbin and after chasing these sightings for four days, we worked out it was a pup who liked to wander, he looked a lot like my girl but too light in his coat and he was a boy.

By that point we had had no legitimate sightings for almost a week. And absolutely none for the third or fourth weeks she was missing.

I knew she had a well fitting collar with my phone number on a tag, a micro chip with correct details and I had reported her missing with the council and left flyers with all local vets and the pounds and animal rescue centres.

I also took one of our other dogs who she has a bond with out with me so he could leave scent patches for her in as many places as possible, as well as leaving blankets and clothing in key areas she was seen, to encourage her to stay there.

When it was exactly four weeks to the day when she took flight, a farmer called me, I braced myself for another false sighting and he said: "Well I'm pretty sure she's yours, she has your number on her collar."

I was blown away to learn she had shown up the previous night and stuck around until the next morning and finally let a human approach her (with roast lamb) and stayed with them to wait for me.

I could hardly believe it, they had no idea she was missing.

Her engraved tag and her being clever brought her back to me.

Four years ago I owed Phedre my life.

When I came home from England a little over four years ago I was in a dark place with my mental health and I decided to take on a rescue dog and do something good for a dog in need.

Suddenly there was this animal relying on me to get up, to walk, to keep my energy calm and balanced so she could do the same and recover from her history and bond with me and be happy in the world.

My mum likes to say: "Our animals invite us to be our best selves."

I believe that's true.

She changed my life.

We continue to grow and learn together.

She's home and healthy, a little skinny, very tired, keen for a bath and is being spoiled rotten with little meals so as to not hurt her tummy.

I'm so proud of her, she's so clever and so tough.

Charlotte Shepherd


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