Missing for four months, and found 500 kilometres from where they were lost, Samoyeds Simbo and Samba have been reunited with their pensioner owner Paul McLeod.
Bega Valley Shire Council ranger John Flanagan has made a new friend, or three, after he organised the reunion of a Sydney man and his beloved dogs.
The two Samoyeds went missing from Paul McLeod’s Kogarah unit in June this year, breaking his heart and causing him to scour the streets of St George and the Sutherland Shire area for nearly four months in search of Simbo and Sambo.
“I was always on the look-out for them,” a tearful Mr McLeod said.
“The posters I put up everywhere in June asking for help in finding them are still there.
“The other thing I did was register them as missing.
“I have had them for six years so they are a big part of my life. They’re my mates.”
What brought Mr McLeod post-haste to Bega was a phone call from Mr Flanagan with the happy news that Simbo and Sambo had been found healthy and well here in the Bega Valley.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I got John’s call, so I decided to cry,” he said.
“Then I just couldn’t get here fast enough,” the 80-year-old said after driving down from Sydney and the story unfolded.
No-one knows where the dogs were between going missing from Kogarah and being found unattended and in poor condition in a park at Berry.
Concerned about their condition, the finder had brought them to the Bega area where they were nursed back to good health by a local resident.
Mr Flanagan was undertaking a routine inquiry when he first became aware of the dogs existence.
When Mr Flanagan first became aware that Simbo and Sambo were living in the Bega Valley he was able to trace the missing dogs’ owner through their microchips, much to Mr McLeod’s relief.
“If I didn’t have them chipped I never would have found them,” he said tearfully when they were reunited.
He also agreed with Mr Flanagan about the importance of having dogs microchipped and keeping the owners’ contact details up to date.
“The other important thing is that anyone who finds a stray dog should notify their local Council who can check the chip and hopefully locate the owner,” Mr McLeod said.
Mr Flanagan said it was great to have a good news dog story to tell.
“When we can reunite a grieving owner with his much-loved companions, it often doesn’t get much publicity but it is a great outcome for the owner,” he said.
“Paul’s story emphasises the importance of micro chipping dogs so that they can be reunited if they roam or are stolen.
“It also shows how important it is that Council be notified of stray or found dogs so that efforts can be made find the owner.”
As for Mr McLeod, Simbo and Sambo – they are going to move out of Sydney to somewhere the beloved pets can have a big paddock to run around in.
Perhaps they will send Mr Flanagan a postcard.