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A Kumara woman's beloved golden retriever has come home after a week missing - but its companion is still missing, and hopes are now fading.
Ava (9) and Kaatje (11) wandered off from their Kumara home last Thursday and went bush.
Their owner Bianca Kramer, who has six golden retrievers, expected to find them on her deck when she got home from work but they were gone and so the search began.
From her phone she sent out an appeal on social media and word spread. People went on extra walks, and also searched the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
However, there were no reported sightings until Monday at Camerons, though given that this is across the Taramakau River, she does not believe it was them.
Then yesterday, a woman at the Theatre Royal Hotel spotted Ava. She followed the dog as it made its way home, shut the gate and messaged Miss Kramer.
"I don't know her, but I'm taking her for drinks tonight," Miss Kramer said today.
If only dogs could talk, Ava could tell a story, while its owner is left trying to piece it all together.
Perhaps they chased a weka and Kaatje fell down a mine shaft. Ava had lost weight, but not a lot, and its paws were okay and the nails long and did not show wear.
Miss Kramer was also wondering if Ava came home yesterday because the easterly wind had carried voices and smells.
Today, her son and a colleague were heading into the bush with Kaatje's daughter and Ava, but she is realistic.
"I fear for Kaatje because of her age."
Miss Kramer thanked everyone who had helped, and also wanted people to know that missing dogs can come back, even after a week or more.
"You just don't know what an animal can do."
- Laura Mills