Brenton Cook and his pooch Georgie are inseparable.
However, that bond was put to the test last week.
The 6-year-old white Maltese-Lhasa Apso-cross bitch ran from the scene of a single-vehicle crash on the morning of February 3, after Mr Cook ran off the road between Alexandra and Roxburgh in the Fruitlands area.
His vehicle hit a bank and then rolled. Mr Cook was knocked unconscious, and Georgie was gone when he came to. A game of cat, or in this case dog, and mouse followed as the 31-year-old Cromwell roofer tried to find her.
The search quickly became a community effort. Georgie was spotted near the crash scene several times over the following days.
‘‘She was pretty spooked. People tried to catch her, but she just kept going to ground,’’ Mr Cook said. Mr Cook was finally able to coax her out of hiding last Thursday morning with the help of Gorge Rd Farm worker Keiran Davidson and Roxburgh man Steve McFadgen.
Another searcher, Debs Reid, had managed to get close to the runaway dog the day before and took a video of her taking what she described as a ‘‘Sunday walk’’. She and her daughter Mackenzie Reid had spent about six hours combing the farmland near the crash site looking for the dog, she said.
The story resonated with her. ‘‘I have never felt so connected to a stranger’s dog. We just had to find her.’’
Mr Cook said said he was grateful to all who helped track Georgie down and he was not surprised she had struck a chord with people. ‘‘I’ve had her since she was a puppy, she is always with me — she sits on the building site, runs around and plays, or sleeps in the work truck,’’ he said. ‘‘She’s not the type of dog to run away.’’ Despite the crash, Georgie had no qualms about getting into vehicles and heading to work with Mr Cook, as usual.