A pair of Labradors stuck in swampland for two days have been rescued after a huge community effort involving members of the public and their kayaks and a boat.
Sibling Labradors Gus and Fern ran off from the owners' neighbour who was walking them on Wednesday in Te Atatu Peninsula, west Auckland.
Fern became stuck when her lead wrapped around the mangroves and her brother refused to leave her side.
Their owner Sam Joyce, who lives in Greenhithe, said she was overwhelmed by the efforts of the public who responded to a post on the Te Atatu Facebook page for assistance in the search.
The Fire Service also assisted.
"I couldn't believe the support from the community down there, I mean there was a fire truck, the helicopters were going, there was 10 to 20 people in kayaks, and these lovely guys came out on their boat," Joyce said.
"From the kayaks we couldn't get to them, they were stuck in the mangroves. The little golden one, she had a long lead on her and that was wrapped around the mangroves and was completely stuck. When the tide was coming in she was sitting in water and quite distressed.
"The chocolate one, her brother, he was free but he wouldn't leave her, just sitting there with her. We couldn't reach them from the mangroves, it was too thick, but the boat went out into the channel and luckily was able to pick them up.
"It was pretty incredible considering we don't know anybody, we're not from the community."
A spokesman for the Fire Service said they were notified of the missing dogs this morning by a woman who called them after hearing the dogs howling while walking near Chapman Rd.
Joyce said her and her husband "couldn't believe" someone hadn't found Gus and Fenn two days on because they were microchipped and collared with their phone number.
"We've been completely beside ourselves. These two, they're not survivalist type dogs, they're two big Labradors who basically would do anything for a pat and some food, so the thought of them being out there was pretty awful. By the end of two days we were thinking the worst."
Reports of the missing dogs first appeared on Facebook on Wednesday, in a post made by a friend of the Joyces.
"Please if anybody sees these two get in touch asap, they do not know the area as are from Greenhithe, we are all very worried!!!," it read.
"These two cheeky Labs swam away from their dog walker whilst at the beach under the estuary at Te Atatu Marina."
An update at about 10am this morning said there were reports of "howling in the mangroves".
"We are not sure where but the owners have gone out on their kayak to look. Please keep an eye and ear out as they have been missing for 2 days now!!!!!!!! [If] You have a kayak please maybe join the search!!!!" the post said.
The Fire Service was undertaking a search for the dogs by 11am, and an assisting member of the public retrieved the dogs around 11.20am.
Joyce said the labs were remarkably in perfect health, considering their physical trial.
"They've fine, other than being quite tired and a little bit thirsty and hungry, physically they're completely fine. All cuddled up and having a sleep now."