Chaos the dog is back from the brink
A dog stranded on a North Taranaki cliff for more than a week is now back on a short leash at home.
Chaos went missing from his Motunui home, near Waitara, not long after dinner on March 15.
Thinking he may have wandered off, it wasn't until the next day that owners Marc Glover and Alicia James really started to worry.
"Next morning, he still wasn't home and we spent all week searching for him," James said. A complicating factor was that Chaos is deaf so could not hear people calling his name.
After fliers and Facebook posts about Chaos's disappearance yielded no clues, the couple tried to accept that their 15-year-old pooch might not be coming home.
However, it turned out Glover's close connection with his dog, which he has had since it was born, helped solved the mystery.
Walking the beach near his home last Monday, Glover heard the distinctive growl of his beloved pet, whom he referred to as "his son".
"I just knew that was his bark. I had heard it a million times."
After spotting him on the cliff, Glover went into action mode but soon realised he would not be able to rescue Chaos on his own.
James rung the SPCA which called the fire service to help out.
New Plymouth senior station officer Ian Drewery said once it was established specialist rescue gear was needed, a New Plymouth unit was dispatched.
"They got there and the dog was located over a bank. It was found 30-40m down," he said
He said a rescue line was set up and a firefighter lowered down through scrub, in what were wet and windy conditions, to get to Chaos.
"It was definitely pretty pleased to see him," Drewery said.
After the three-hour rescue effort, Chaos was delivered back to his relieved owners. "We were stoked to get him back," Glover said.
Chaos was treated for dehydration and superficial scratches, but was otherwise fine.
The dog has been given an extra dose of TLC at home since his return too. He is allowed to sleep inside and the family make sure they know where he is at all times.
James said she was still not sure how Chaos ended up on the cliff face but suspected he was either chasing something or being chased.
It was his ability to survive out in the elements for that long which amazed her. "I don't think I'll ever get my head around it."
- Sunday Star Times