An ironic bond between a woman and her dog
ELKE and her pooch Leo have a bond like no other - they both have half a pancreas.
So when the much-loved bull terrier went missing for 11 days, Elke (surname withheld) felt she had lost a part of herself.
Elke, 20, underwent major surgery to remove a tumour from her pancreas eight weeks ago related to auto-immune disease that also claimed her spleen.
Her results about the rare illness had just come back when the family were delivered with another blow as Leo went missing from the family's home in Rockhampton.
In the desperate search for their dog, the family delivered countless posters, offered rewards, posted on social media and called local vets.
Two years earlier, four-year-old Leo had half of his pancreas removed in a lifesaving surgery which left him with numerous health issues only the family knew how to care for.
Elke's mum and owner of Leo, Andrea (surname withheld), said she never gave up hope on the search for the much-loved family dog who had also recently undergone leg surgery.
"I went to bed every night with a heavy heart but woke up every morning and said to myself I wouldn't stop looking,” she said.
After 11 days of heartache and waiting by the phone, Leo was spotted running up Dean St.
The inquisitive dog stopped at a a vet on the road, who got in touch with the family.
Because of a chain mark around Leo's neck, it's thought he was taken.
Andrea said she couldn't believe it when he was found safe and well.
"I couldn't speak when I saw missed calls and my heart stopped, I tried not to get too excited,” she said.
"My hand just went to my mouth and I just started crying.”
Andrea said if it wasn't for the persistence of local vets and the Lost Pet Coordinator Facebook page she didn't know where Leo might be now.
She said the support that they received from the community was amazing and she was appreciative of every kind word.
"It gives hope to the people that are still looking for their pets,” she said.
"I'd tell them to never give up hope, just keep searching.”