Stuart Whitaker is a sports reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and a general reporter for the Bay News.

Missing dog: Possum and family reunited

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REUNITED: Missing dog Possum, pictured with Elliott Stachurski, has been found and is back home.
REUNITED: Missing dog Possum, pictured with Elliott Stachurski, has been found and is back home.

Possum the fox terrier, who disappeared when his owner's truck was stolen from Mount Maunganui, is back home.

Possum had been in owner Wayne Stachurski's Nissan Navara when the vehicle was stolen from outside Club Mount Maunganui on September 8.

The 5-year-old fox terrier was found beside State Highway 1, just south of Turangi and taken to the Taupo dog ranger who then handed him back to Mr Stachurski.

''He's been away 12 days and it was just like an empty house without him - so it's good to have him back,'' he said.

''Fortunately, whoever he has been with, he has been in fairly good care. He's been well fed and he is as happy as he normally is. That's his character with everybody he meets, he's just a very neat little dog.''

When Possum was a puppy Mr Stachurski gave him to his son Elliott for his 5th birthday. Elliott is now 9 and has been in Auckland all week. Mr Stachurski said his son was happy Possum was safe.

''He has been a little bit teary, but now he's happy although he hasn't been able to see Possum yet.''

Since his return home, Possum has been out and about with Mr Stachurski, who is a Thames-based farm consultant.

''He's been out on farms and other bits and pieces, so no change there - he's just fitted back in like he never ever left.''

Possum with Keenan at the Otara spinal unit. Photo/supplied
Possum with Keenan at the Otara spinal unit. Photo/supplied

Mr Stachurski often travelled between Auckland and Tauranga for work and Possum regularly joined him and had his own box-bed on the backseat of the truck. Mr Stachurski said he would continue to take the dog with him.

''The [new] vehicle I picked up yesterday has a keyless entry, and I'd like to think that, while people might still find ways around that, it's more secure than what I had.''

While news on Possum has been good, the same can't be said for the truck,

''There's still no sign of the vehicle, so I am still quite upset about that.

''I went to do a job on a water trough and there were some pipe grips that I needed and then I realised they were in the truck - it's just annoying and hugely frustrating what these people do in terms of buggering people's lives up.''

Mr Stachurski said he wanted to thank anyone who had helped spread the word about Possum going missing in mainstream and on social media.

''I think that possibly, maybe even probably, had a major influence on him being returned.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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