Brutus the Tenterfield Terrier can’t wipe the smile off his face.
And who can blame him after a horror week away from his human family.
The 14-year-old dog, who is deaf, took off from his home near the Thornton Little Athletics Club on October 25 after the vibrations from a starting gun startled him.
He struggled to find his way home and when a severe thunderstorm hit the suburb the next day he kept running. His paws took him more than two kilometres south through the suburb and landed him 100 metres from dry ground in a large swamp off Rockleigh Street.
With his back legs stuck among the reeds, and only birds - and probably a few snakes - for company, he started howling for help.
Meanwhile, his sleep-deprived owners had launched a large-scale search and were spending their days and nights walking the streets, driving the streets, putting up flyers and sharing his absence on social media.
His howls caught the ear of a nearby resident a week after he went missing. They alerted the emergency services and put the call out on Facebook.
When owner Kelly Berry heard about the rescue from her desk at GWH Build – less than a kilometre away – she rushed over to find out if it was her beloved Brutus.
She arrived to find two Ambulance Rescue paramedics and two police officers in gumboots ready to wade through the swamp. The reeds were so thick they disappeared from view.
Ms Berry started calling Brutus and whistling to him. When the howls became louder she knew it was him.
She made her way around the swamp towards him and caught a glimpse of his head. Brutus started pulling himself through the reeds towards her.
Watch the moment Brutus saw his owner
“I can’t thank the emergency services enough, he wouldn’t have gotten out without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get him out on my own.
“I was so relieved, I couldn’t believe it was him. He was so scared, it wasn’t until he got 20 metres away and put his head on the side that I knew he had heard me whistle. Once I got him out and dried him off he started kissing me and was so happy. I still can’t believe it,"Brutus' owner Kelly Berry
“They didn’t even hesitate going in there. I’d like to track them down and give them a lottery pack or something – they were amazing.”
Brutus arrived home in time to surprise his best mates Ella, nine, and Kye, five, who had spent another day at school worrying about him.
After many cuddles and pats Brutus decided it was time for a game with his green ball.Then he was ready to devour a few meals.
“He went a long way, thank you to everybody who kept an eye out for him, that was so very humbling,” Ms Berry said.
“He’s petrified of loud noises.”
“With every clap of thunder in the storm he would have kept going and going, he would have felt the vibrations,”Ms Berry said.
Ms Berry thanked the community for supporting her through the ordeal.
“People I didn’t even know were out looking for him, it was so special,” she said.
The Maitland Mercury
“If people were walking their dog I would ask them if they had seen him. I ran into one lady who was walking her dog and asked her, and than that afternoon her daughter got in touch on Facebook and said they had been looking for him all day."