A fruitless week-long search for her beloved Staffordshire bull terrier has longtime Raglan vet nurse Donna Rickard in despair – and pleading to the public for any information on the dog’s whereabouts.
“Nobody’s seen him, it’s really weird,” she told the Chronicle on Monday. She fears Dinky’s been picked up by a passing car as he fled in terror from her Te Mata property when thunder struck the week before.
It’s the “not knowing” that’s hard to take, she says of his disappearance. “I think I’ve earned enough respect in the community after 23 years of looking after other people’s pets for someone (who may know something) to help me now when I need it.”
Donna’s hoping for an anonymous call or similar to ease her mind. She doesn’t believe her dog’s come to grief on a neighbouring farm because “we’ve searched every day all last week from dusk till dawn within a 17km radius”.
Door-knocking and posting flyers have also brought no results.
Donna hand-reared the brindle and white bull terrier 11 years ago, from almost newborn. “I’ve had Staffies all my life.”
Dinky, she says, was always petrified of thunder and lightning but would seek solace at her neighbours’ if Donna was at work. But the neighbours had recently built a new wooden fence, and when the dog couldn’t get in they saw him bolt across a paddock and out of sight.
Donna’s devastated her pet’s not returned. He’s part of the family, she insists – a family that includes no fewer than six cats, four dogs, birds, pukekos, hedgehogs, guinea pigs and rabbits.
She says she just can’t say no to the homeless animals that come through the doors of Raglan vet clinic, and moved from Raglan West to a three-and-a-half acre Te Mata property some years ago to house her growing menagerie.