The touching story of a Tauranga mum's hunt for her sick little boy's lost soft toy now has a happy ending.
Micah Stoodley, 10, who developed chronic pain earlier this year, was devastated when his little dog toy Blue went missing after a stay in Tauranga Hospital.
Mum-of-four Karen Stoodley looked and looked for a month before posting on Facebook to ask if anyone had a Blue. She had little hope - Blue was more than 10 years old and the only picture she could find was of the dog's behind.
The Bay of Plenty Times picked up the story and it was shared far and wide - 85 times from our Facebook page alone.
On October 28, the day after publication, Micheal Stoodley was sitting with his wife in hospital as she recovered from a 10-and-a-half-hour surgery to remove a brain tumour the day before, when he saw a post with a picture of Blue.
Except it was not Blue. It was Blue's identical twin, dug out of a stranger's toybox in Wanaka.
Micah met the new Blue during a visit to his mum in hospital. He noticed immediately that this Blue was a little chubbier and had a tag old Blue did not.
"After a wee cry, we talked about how the old Blue was special because he had been with him since he was a baby; this Blue is special because he represents all the people who cared enough for our situation to share our story and search through their toyboxes," said Karen Stoodley.
It did not take long for Micah to form an attachment to new Blue.
"He sleeps at night with Blue in his hand."
She said the experience had been a "great opportunity to reflect on community and humanity".
"People are generally good and kind, they just don't always get the opportunity to demonstrate this.
"Arohanui to you all, I consider myself blessed to live in such a caring community."