It was a windy Tuesday morning when Robert James was on his way to work at Flemington railway hub when a puppy unexpectantly ran up to him, attached by a flimsy rope to the railway fence.
He saw the puppy was only metres from the train tracks and notified two railway officers who inspected the tracks to see if there were other puppies but there was just the one.
The puppy had no collar and Mr James and the officers assumed it was abandoned.
But unsure, Mr James’s wife picked up the frightened puppy and brought it back to their home at Sutherland hoping they’d be able to locate the owners.
“I took her to the vet but she wasn’t chipped. The vet handed the puppy back to me because they couldn’t take it in,” Jessica James said.
“We put a post up about the missing dog on social media because our landlord doesn’t allow dogs. A friend saw our post and put us in contact with Bob Swan, of Liverpool, who’s well-known in the pet community. He helped us find a lady who was willing to temporarily look after the dog until the owner was found.”
Mr Swan is a Liverpool local who regularly helps lost pets and is an admin on the Facebook page Hammondville & Surrounding Suburbs Pet Watch.
And with help from the community page watchdogs, Ruth Bailey and Mr Swan, the puppy’s owners were tracked down within hours after they’d searched on various lost-pets pages and websites.
“The dog could’ve easily been hit by a train so I’m just glad it’s back with its owners and the situation didn’t get worse. It really shows how important microchipping is,” Mrs James said.
Mr Swan said the dog, named Ella, had escaped from its owners’ fence. It was only a few weeks old and the owners decided to not get her chipped until they moved to Bathurst this week.
“Ella must have escaped because it was so windy. She was found at the railway, which was only a five-minute walk from where the owners lived. Someone must have tied her up. It wasn’t easy to find the owner – Ruth and I had to contact three possible people whom we thought could own her,” Mr Swan said.
“I basically acted as the mediator. The temporary dog-minder dropped Ella off to me early Thursday morning and the owners picked her up just before lunch. And after they provided proof of ownership and we checked with the breeder we handed it back. This is why we stress dogs should be chipped straight away.”
- Dogs can be chipped without charge at Liverpool Council Animal Shelter.
- If you have a lost pet check community Facebook pages: Hammondville & Surrounding Suburbs Pet Watch and Bankstown/Liverpool/Fairfield Lost and Found Pets.