For the past two and a half weeks Aleisha Blackley has not been able to sleep after her newly adopted dog went missing on the way to Queenstown.
Blackley bought Lani, a 16-month-old shih tzu-bichon cross, from a Kaitaia breeder on Trade Me.
Covid-19 restrictions meant Lani could not be flown to her new home in Queenstown by air animal transport. Blackley arranged for Hopkins Horse Transport, a pet transport service, to collect Lani from Northland and take her to her new forever home.
Lani was picked up by Hopkins Horse Transport on November 4. By the following Wednesday Lani and Hopkins Horse Transport had reached Blenheim where Lani went missing.
It's understood, Lani was taken out of the vehicle and put on the ground. It wasn't until an hour after when the driver realised the dog was missing.
Hopkins Horse Transport owner Tierney Hopkins told Stuff he had been nearby, but had "turned his back" on the dog. By the time he discovered Lani was missing, an hour had passed.
Blackley said the pet transport service didn't tell her that Lani had gone missing till the following morning, which was the day she was due to arrive in Queenstown.
Once Blackley learnt about the news she and a friend flew to Blenheim and began searching for the dog.
"We looked for her day and night for a few days with no luck," she said.
"We were honestly at the point where we thought she was picked up by someone because we had not one sighting of her."
Eighteen days later, Blackley received a phone call which she said was "the best news ever".
"It was from this lady who knew what Lani looked like from the social media posts and stuff.
"She said 'I've found your dog, we are just chasing her at the moment."
Blackley said the woman spotted Lani on the side of a road just 2km from where she went missing.
Lani was then taken to the vets where she was to spend the night until Blackley arrives in Blenheim.
She said the vet expects Lani to make a full recovery despite having a few injuries.
"She's skinny as a rake, she's got a swollen leg with an infection and a puncture wound under her front leg by her chest."
Blackley said she broke down when she received the happy news.
"I just broke down in tears when I found out, especially being [told she was missing] 25 hours later.
"It was hard because we could have had people there straight away searching, so it's been a very stressful 18 days, probably the most stressful 18 days of my life."
Once she posted the good news to Facebook, Blackley received a call from the pet transport service who has since offered $3000 to go towards vet bills.
Although the full extent of Lani's injuries are unknown, Blackley said she is grateful the dog is alive.
"She is still alive and we'll hopefully have her home getting the love and attention she deserves soon."
Blackley said she went to "extreme lengths" to push her photos and story on social media in the hope someone may recognise the dog.
"It was really hard to keep the faith but I didn't want to give up on her which has paid off."
With Lani's popularity on social media, Blackley said it felt as if the whole country was searching for her dog.
"I am ready to have a good sleep tonight and wake up to some good news from the vet," she said.