A beloved Lower Hutt dog has emerged from dense bush after going missing nearly six days ago.
Volunteers and family of Lucas the cavoodle have been tirelessly searching for dog since he ran away into the bush on Friday after being attacked by another dog while out for a walk.
Supporters raised more than $5600 on Givealittle to pay for a helicopter to search for the dog with thermal imaging cameras, but the chopper was not needed after the pooch made an appearance last night.
Lucas has been spotted twice in the last 24 hours, but ran back into the bush both times after becoming spooked by the rescuers waiting for him.
Searchers set up a marquee and portaloo on the side of road at Moore's Valley as they waited patiently today for the pooch to come out of the bush on his own accord.
The owner's daughter, Suzanne Edwards, posted on Facebook this afternoon saying they finally had Lucas and were taking him to the vet.
"AMAZING NEWS!! WE HAVE LUCAS!! He was found on a nearby street, so has made his way over two massive bushy hills to civilisation," she wrote.
"He seems okay, just thin and is going straight to a vet to get checked out. Mum and dad are elated!! More to follow soon ... but I wanted you all to know ASAP!"
A massive search has been underway since Friday, with at least 100 rescuers out searching the bush for Lucas, using thermal cameras and drones.
Edwards said hunters and trampers had been going out to 4am daily trying to see if they could hear anything.
A volunteer said the terrain was "steep" and "muddy" and they'd spent hours slipping and sliding in the rain.
But the manhunt was called off after the wanted dog appeared yesterday.
Suzanne Edwards said they ran down the road to see Lucas "as bright as a button trotting up the road".
She said although they regret it, they squealed and went to get him but the dog scarpered back into the bush.
This morning, a passerby said she saw Lucas pop his head out from the foliage just before 10.
"It's just now sitting back and instead of searching for Lucas, we just have to wait for Lucas to search for us" Suzanne said.
"We think he's probably just inside the entrance and he's found himself somewhere really warm, really safe and he's been curled up probably for a while potentially watching us this whole time."
The family's asking everyone to stay out of the bush and keep quiet so he doesn't get scared.
A humane trap has been set beside where he was last seen, complete with family clothing, food and a warm blanket.
Greg Edwards, a family member, has been keeping watch of the trap.
He said the pooch was a "greedy guts" and his tummy will soon take over and want to eat something.
Lucas' owner and canine sister have been walking between the trap and where he scurried into the bush to leave their scent.
Suzanne said another trap was going to be set up either in the bush or a little bit further down the road.
A few volunteers still remained at the search base, many of them had been waiting for days and out in the bush searching themselves. They were thankful for the community giving them food and baked goods.
Suzanne said they'll probably never know where Lucas has been this whole time.
"We hope today's the day we get to have him back."