A loud thunderclap on Christmas Day may have been what sent labrador Marmite running from her home.

"She has never run away before and that is the only thing I can think of," says owner Brodee Blanche.

"We were spending Christmas with friends at Brunswick and we had arranged for another friend to come and feed Marmite.

"When they got here, there was no sign of her."

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The Castlecliff property is well fenced and Marmite had never shown any inclination to jump the gate, so the family were worried she might have been taken.

"We put out calls on social media and the response has been amazing," says Blanche.

"There were so many people looking for her."

Blanche posted messages seeking sightings of Marmite every day and on December 31 she wrote, "Sharing once again because she is a member of our family and we need her home."

The family member most anxious for Marmite's return was 11-year-old Ella who was given the puppy for her fifth birthday.

On New Year's Eve, a friend said they had spotted Marmite running along the riverside walkway near Cobham Bridge.

"When we got there she was down by the Waimarie - very stinky but in good health and pleased to see us," says Blanche.

"We want to thank everyone who showed concern and especially those who went looking for Marmite.

"It is good to know that you live in a caring community."

A bathed and sweet-smelling dog now seems happy to be back in her own backyard playing with Ella and her 2-year-old brother Beauden.