Pet journeys: Dog survived months in bush

Last updated 05:00 27/01/2014
lewis pass
DOG GONE?: No one knows what Toss got up to for three months in the bush in the Lewis Pass.

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My grandfather Jack had a dog in the late 1940s called Toss. He thought the world of Toss.

He was driving from Christchurch to the mining village of Waiuta on the West Coast. At the top of the Lewis Pass, a heavy rainforest in the Southern Alps, my grandfather stopped off to let Toss out of the car to relieve himself on the long journey.

Toss had a moment of madness and bolted into the forest and after many hours of searching and calling in vain, my grandfather had to make the agonising decision to get back in the car and continue his journey without his beloved dog.

He was absolutely gutted at the time and made people in Waiuta aware he had lost his pet in the Lewis Pass, but more or less resigned himself to the fact that Toss was gone for good.

Three months passed when out of the blue one day, a kind person from the small town of Reefton made contact with my grandfather in Waiuta saying they had found a dog and they thought it was Toss.

Indeed it was Toss and after three autumn months in one of the wildest and isolated parts of our nation, Toss had survived.

Toss was a great deal thinner and one can only imagine what he ate during his three-month adventure in the wild. Hopefully it wasn't too many native animals and Toss helped reduce the possum and rabbit population.

My grandfather takes great delight when he sees my labrador Riley these days and I reckon it has to do with Toss being such a memorable pet for him all those years ago.

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