Mark Vette has made a career from rescuing and training animals for TV but the renowned behaviourist had to call in emergency services for his most recent rescue.
Vette, who has taught rescue dogs how to drive cars, fly planes and say "Bugger", had to call the fire service when one of his pets became trapped deep in a rock cave.
The dramatic summer holiday rescue saw three firemen digging 6m through the sand and under giant rocks to reach a cave entrance after Tommy the Jack Russell got stuck.
Vette and partner Kim Morresey were taking dogs Monty, Reggie and Tommy for a morning walk around the hills above their new home at Hot Water Beach when Tommy ran off.
The pair initially thought the 10-year-old Jack Russell had gone on an adventure "following his nose", but were concerned when he didn't return to Vette's whistles.
The pair searched for 3 hours and were just about to head home to regroup when Reggie, the first dog to fly a plane , went missing as well.
Vette knew Tommy was moving about because he was wearing an 'Animo' health tracker from Sure Petcare that records barking, scratching and steps taken and sends a report to the owner's phone.
"We knew he was still ok because he was moving around - we could see his steps going up," Vette said.
The pair had heard Tommy's barks but they were so muffled they thought he was far away up the hill.
"We thought it was really strange because Reggie never leaves our side and he wasn't coming back to Mark's whistle either," Morresey said.
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Reggie's barks then alerted the pair to a spot on the hill where he was frantically digging.
"It took a moment before we clicked that Reggie was digging for Tommy, he had found him under the ground," Morresey said.
The couple realised their keen hunter had fallen through a crevice or followed a rat into a hole and was stuck below the hill in a sea cave.
"When we realised where he was we were all of a sudden very aware we couldn't get to him. It was very traumatic," Vette said.
"We didn't know what would happen at high tide and were worried that Tommy might go further into another cave and we would lose him for good," Vette said.
Vette "bit the bullet" and called the fire service, which responded with a crew from Hahei.
Morresey said three crew members in full kit arrived and got to work.
"They spoke to a local builder who knew the layout of the caves and figured out the best way to rescue him," Morresey said.
The volunteer fire crew dug 6m under the rocks to get into the cave entrance.
They then had to dig further for a rescuer to get under and coax Tommy out.
After more than 7 hours trapped in the dark, a very cold but relieved Tommy was reunited with his overjoyed owners.
"We were very happy to see him. There was a time we thought we might lose our mate," Vette said.
"It was a really traumatic time but the fire service did a great job, they were just amazing."
Fire chief Ian Carter from Fire and Emergency Services Hahei said when time and resources were available, crews did what they could to assist pets in trouble.
"To most people their pets are family so that's how we treat them," Carter said.
Carter said the rescue was quite unique but fire officers were always good at applying life experience and personal knowledge to each event.
"With every situation the crew pool their collective knowledge and adapt it so they have the best outcome."
Vette said the fact Reggie, who was rescued from an animal shelter in the UK, played a part in saving Tommy made the rescue story even sweeter.
"Reggie got a lot of praise that day, he knows he was a real hero."