If only they could talk.
That’s what Toney Fitzgerald is wondering after being reunited with 10-month old Jabu more than three months after the puppy jumped the fence at his nephew’s backyard and escaped.
With that fateful leap over the back fence on April 1, the Red Kelpie – whose name ‘Jabu’ means ‘happiness’ in Zulu – galvanised the people of Orange in an effort to hunt him down.
“Apparently he jumped the fence and off he went and despite looking at every street and driving around I just couldn’t find him,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“The posts I put up on Facebook were amazing, Facebook is a great tool as people would see a dog looking similar and put it up and tag me in the post.”
He said so many people on Facebook – namely the ‘Orange NSW Lost and Found Pets’ group – threw themselves behind the cause.
“Some people became so vigilant that their mission was to find the dog,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
He would regularly receive notifications from people who’d seen similar looking Kelpies from all over Orange, but to no avail.
If he could only talk – I’ve got no idea if anyone’s looked after him while he’s been out there, or if he’s been in the wilderness.Toney Fitzgerald
“I’d given up hope,” he said.
“I was just hoping he was okay and a family had picked him up and were looking after him or something and the next day, he’d found him.”
The ‘he’ in question was Jamie Patterson, who’d found the bundle of energy near North Orange shops, took him home and posted in ‘Orange NSW Lost and Found Pets’ on July 7 to see if anyone knew the dog’s owner.
“Someone I don’t know but knew I was looking for him and tagged me in it, so I messaged him and said ‘it looks like him, does he respond to Jabu’ and he said yes – straight away he identified me and was jumping up,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“I had tears in my eyes, he was a beautiful dog and been away for three months.
“If he could only talk – I’ve got no idea if anyone’s looked after him while he’s been out there, or if he’s been in the wilderness.
“He looks healthy but he wasn’t starving or suffering from malnutrition so it's a mystery where’s he’s been.
“I was down the Supermarket and have two people come up to me that I didn’t know and say ‘I’m so happy you’ve found your dog’ and I said ‘who are you?’ and they said ‘we’ve been following you on Facebook’.”
“Facebook was just powerful … I want to thank the people of Orange for being so vigilant and caring and it was miraculous the people looking out for them, I don’t even know them.”