Claire the dog was spending a day with her minder at Elermore Vale when she broke through a fence and took another dog with her.
The two-year-old kelpie cross lives at Tighes Hill with her owner, Georgie Hosking.
The rescue dog is a bit of an escape artist.
“We tend to put her in day-care while we work,” Georgie said.
After the escape, her carer tracked down the two dogs to Walker Fields, behind Elermore Vale shops.
She managed to catch the other dog, but Claire is skittish. She panicked and did the bolt, escaping into bushes.
“My partner Brendan and I left work and we searched through the scrub, the surrounding streets and any landmarks we thought she may possibly be attracted to,” Georgie said.
They searched in extreme heat [this happened last week on that really hot day]. Later, a storm hit [storms terrify Claire]. They kept searching.
At nightfall, Georgie and Brendan went home heartbroken.
They drove back to the area for another search at daybreak.
They received a phone call at about 6.30am. Claire had turned up at Islington dog park, a couple of hundred metres from where they live at Tighes Hill.
“She was too nervous to let anybody catch her. Luckily she has my number embroidered on her collar, so it can be seen from some distance,” Georgie said.
The couple drove back from Elermore Vale to find that Claire had made her way to the footpath of Maitland Road.
“We stopped the car on the other side of the road,” she said.
And then, they had to endure “one final heart-stopping moment”.
“She dashed precariously through the traffic towards us when she saw us there,” Georgie said.
“Thankfully she made it and we were all reunited safely.”
They noticed Claire had quite a strong smell.
“I think she’d been in some very dirty water at some point,” Georgie said.
“She was obviously very tired and hungry, but otherwise unharmed.”
She spent the rest of the day snoozing in airconditioning with a Maltese terrier on the couch of a neighbour.
Georgie was surprised at Claire’s navigational skills.
“We have no idea how she found her way from Elermore Vale to Islington,” she said.
This is a journey of about 10 kilometres.
“She's never been walked to the day-care centre or anywhere in the surrounding areas.
“We only ever drive her directly to day-care and back.
“I shudder to think of all the roads she crossed.”
Georgie emphasised that she placed no blame on the young lady who looks after Claire at Elermore Vale.
“Claire has gone to her for a long time and loves it,” she said.
“The reason we take her there is because she's managed to escape from our yard a few times to go to Islington dog park.”
Georgie’s house is close to the park.
“We've also had a call or two – from the playground across the bridge from the dog park – to tell us she’s playing fetch with the children there.”
Georgie said Claire was highly skilled at finding weak spots in a perfectly secure-looking yard.
“When she puts her mind to escaping, and has a bit of time on her hands, she's very difficult to contain,” she said.
“All the fences she comes into contact with are getting reinforced.”
Tree of Life
Ahh, the eucalypt – that most quintessential of Australian trees.
Kurri Kurri’s Col Maybury tells Topics that the Apple Box tree (Eucalyptus bridgesiana) proliferates in poor sandy soils in his area.
“Its creamy white blossom balls supposedly sense the coming season and only appear about once in five years,” Col said.
Somehow the tree knows the coming season is fit for seeding.
“I will watch it this year,” he said.
Topics can relate. We like a bit of tree-watching.
Send stories and pictures of your favourite trees to firstname.lastname@example.org.