On a rainy Kapiti afternoon while playing with friends at Te Ra School, in Raumati South, Coe Rochford's beloved dog Dan disappeared into bush.

When Coe realised that Dan was missing, an extensive search, which would last three days last week, began.

Despite the weather Coe, 12, went out several times with friends and family searching for Dan that afternoon continuing into the evening.

Living on a property that is not fully fenced Dan has wandered off before but has always returned to Coe in Leinster Ave.

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The next day the hunt continued, searching for hours at a time, with Coe only returning home for food and to report back.

"I was scared," Coe said.

"I thought he might be injured, have gone down a bank or been puppynapped."

One thousand fliers were handed around and a social media campaign set up.

Although it was helpful in gaining attention of the community, the common looking staffy-cross brought about calls from concerned people in Waikanae and places further afield.

Having been inseparable for years and a regular fixture around the neighbourhood, friends and neighbours joined in Coe's search for Dan.

By the third day, with Coe already grieving for Dan, it was family friend Mel Whitfield who suggested they search in a forest area one more time.

Covering ground already searched, it was stepdad Stephen Mackey who found Dan trapped in gorse and tangled in his lead unable to move.

When he was untangled "he shot out of the forest with his tail wagging like crazy," Coe said.

"I was in shock and disbelief.

"I was really, really happy to have Dan back."