A West Auckland pet owner was "beside herself with happiness" when her dog was rescued from the bottom of a 100m almost vertical bank after he was missing for two weeks.
Mandy Going and her husband, who volunteers with the fire brigade, were devastated when her 9-year-old Rottweiler, Zack, went missing on November 11, and shared her concerns on social media.
"Please check your properties for him - he will be very scared and hiding somewhere." she wrote in a post on the New Zealand Lost Pet Register.
"If the fire siren goes he will most likely howl, please listen out for him and message us as soon as possible."
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Yesterday afternoon, Going's cry for help ended up being a success when she discovered a resident in the area who had heard a dog barking nearby the past couple of weeks.
"When Mandy found out, she went to the area to drop off fliers and managed to talk to someone who confirmed they heard a dog barking out the back of their place," chief fire officer from the Waiatarua Volunteer Fire Brigade Kevin Healy told the Herald.
"When she went out the back, she heard the dog and immediately recognised his bark."
This sparked a massive, three-hour rescue mission, which involved the Waiatarua Volunteer Fire Brigade, a specialist rescue crew from Henderson, an Auckland city line rescue team and a lighting unit from Te Atatu in case it got dark.
Before 5pm, Going contacted Waiatarua Fire Brigade volunteer members who were around at the time and they prepared for the steep, 100m hill mission to find Zack.
"They grabbed a couple of hand-held radios and made their way down through this really steep, crazy, bush-clad, rocky hillside and found him sitting in the stream down the bottom," Healy said.
"Once they located him, by some miracle, they had a bit of cellphone coverage down in this little valley, they managed to contact another brigade member who was able to get us turned out as a brigade to the incident."
The rest of the Waiatarua Fire Brigade managed to get there at 6pm, found out what the team needed below and made their way down.
"I was very pleased with how he looked when we got down there," Healy said.
"He lost quite a bit of weight and didn't want to move. But he was conscious and sitting up with his owner.
"Mandy was heartbroken that he had gone missing, so when she found him, was beside herself with happiness," Healy said.
"It took quite a while for the rescue crews to bring up back up, so Mandy just laid down in the stream bed and cuddled Zach up to keep him warm. It was beautiful."
Because of the "terrible terrain", the team scouted for another way out. But with no luck, they realised they had to hoist Zach back up the steep bank.
The crew put Zach in a Stokes basket, used when rescuing missing trampers, and used ropes as a guide to pull him back up to safety.
Zach was then transferred to an emergency vet.
Healy said he was impressed with the "incredible and awesome piece of teamwork from everyone all the way through".
"Which was from Mandy who never gave up hope. And then the neighbours who let us get access through their property. All the volunteers that helped out, all the West Auckland crews and the others that helped us out.
"It was just fantastic with everyone working together for a very good result."