Hound homeward bound after a 270km wander
IT SOUNDS like something from a Disney movie but a Western Queensland family was reunited with their beloved border collie after it went on a 270km wander through bush, from Toowoomba to Blackbutt.
Sign-writer Rolly Frizzell said his family dog, Chips, ran away from his partner's home, on March 13.
The family spent a week looking for the dog before returning to Roma.
Mr Frizzell came back to Toowoomba every two weeks to resume the search.
"After two months we started to worry something bad had happened to her," he said.
The family thought they has seen the last of Chips.
"Dogs have a good survival sense, but Chips' compass was off - instead of heading west she went north," Mr Frizzell said.
The border collie trekked through Crows Nest and the Brisbane Valley to arrive at Blackbutt, scared and desperate for a feed.
Concerned locals called Bella Barnes from the Kingaroy RSPCA to collect the frightened pup who then spent two weeks gaining her trust.
"Chips would growl and bare her teeth but then one day that all changed, and I could give her hug and scratch her belly," she said.
Luckily Chips was microchipped and registered.
"I realised this was a dog that was loved by someone somewhere," Ms Barnes said.
The two parties agreed to meet halfway between Kingaroy and Roma to hand Chips back.
Ms Barnes said watching the family together filled her with joy.
"It was probably the most gorgeous thing I have seen in my whole life," she said.
"Chips jumped on them, kissed and licked them.
"In the those few moments it made me feel like everything was right in the world."
Sadly, that joy was tempered by the hundreds of dogs Ms Barnes works with that will never be reunited with their owners.
About 80 per cent of RSPCA shelter arrivals end up waiting to be adopted.
Some are abandoned but many are runaways that were never registered or microchipped.
Ms Barnes said a chip was key to reuniting lost pets with their families.
"It is the first step knowing the dog definitely has an owner that we need to find," she said.
"We have to do a bit of investigative work, but even if the registration has expired and owner has moved home, we can usually find them."