Tears of joy flowed on Wednesday when a Cobram family was reunited with its beloved dog, who had been missing for nearly three weeks.
Owners Bob and Jan Willis were notified Cassie, a six-year-old German shepherd, had been found.
The circumstances of how and where she was found stunned just about everyone who has heard the story.
A professional driver, Mr Willis has always had German shepherds, so the disappearance of his best mate sent friends and family into a tailspin as they searched for information about the dog’s whereabouts.
At least 200 people followed the search on Facebook, spreading the word, but all to no avail — until Wednesday.
At the intersection of Broadway and Mookarii Sts, Cobram, a vehicle carrying fruit lost its load, which had to be cleaned up.
While trying to make sure all fruit was picked up, nearby stormwater drains were checked and Cassie was found in one of the pits.
She was dehydrated, but in good condition considering where she was found.
The Courier joined the family at the Cobram pound after being notified Cassie could be picked up.
Mrs Willis said it was a very emotional morning when they heard the good news.
‘‘Bob was crying as soon as he heard the good news. I was crying also but I had to stop and call our daughter Rachel to let her know; we all had a happy cry together.’’
No sooner had the dog been released than she jumped into Mr Willis’ ute, into her spot as co-driver, probably wondering what all the fuss was about as she waited to head home.
Mr Willis has always had a great rapport with dogs.
‘‘When I make deliveries to farmers’ properties I will spend time talking to them (farm dogs).’’
Mr Willis said Cassie had had a great effect on him and his family and he was indebted to her for helping — along with the rest of the family — to get him through some tough times.
‘‘If I had to come up with a reason for liking the breed of German shepherd so much, I think that word would have to be majestic,’’ he said.
The Courier joined the family before Cassie headed to the vet for a check-up.
Cassie took up her usual spot on the floor and relaxed in the cool, no doubt looking forward to her dinner and the dessert she loves after checking everyone else has finished ... ice-cream.
— Kieren Tilly