In Louie’s younger days, it would have been normal for the family dog to go missing for so long. But now the sheepdog is getting on in years, and his current prolonged absence is worrying his owners. They perhaps wonder, had something bad happened to him? Then, out of the blue, he returns with a note on his collar – and the family can’t believe what it said.
Louie is a Huntaway sheepdog, and he lives with his family, Peter and Francie Diver, in central Otago, New Zealand. Louie has always been a free spirit, and as a result, he has been known to wander the surrounding countryside. However, that was in his younger days.
Louie is a senior now – 12 years old to be more precise – which in dog years makes him an octogenarian. Age has tempered his wanderlust, too, and now he prefers a nice warm fireplace to exploring the great outdoors. That’s why his subsequent disappearance was so troubling for the Divers.
You see, Marolyn Diver was visiting her parents – Louie’s humans – on October 7, 2017, when Louie upped and vanished. Marolyn told The Dodo on October 18, 2017, that his behavior was a cause for concern. “My mother was a little grumpy, as she had thought [Louie] had stopped his wandering,” she said.
“We worried he might forget where his home was,” she explained, alluding to Louie’s age. Additionally, the fact that the elderly dog suffers from arthritis was no doubt a concern. And tension mounted as Louie remained missing for the entire afternoon.
Eventually, though, Louie came back of his own accord – but something must have happened during his ramble. Because someone had tied a note to the dog’s collar by way of evidence. It initially struck Marolyn as disconcerting, the Dodo reported.
And that wasn’t the only thing that worried Louie’s family. In January 2018 Marolyn told BoredPanda, “He looked so exhausted and had basically just collapsed.” Combined with the mysterious note, the situation was very troubling. “We were concerned someone might have hurt him,” she recalled.
With that in mind, the family apprehensively took the note and read it. The note not only revealed where Louie had been for so long, but also why he was so tired. It seemed that he wasn’t out exploring or causing trouble; he was out being a hero.
The note read, “Louie is the hero of the day. He led me to Maddy in distress stuck under a branch pile. Cheers, Rob.” Louie’s humans recognized the names in the note as those from a farm in the nearby vicinity.
To be more precise, Rob Kvick is a neighboring farmer, and his terrier is called Maddy. After the Divers found the note on Louie’s collar, they contacted Kvick, who told them the whole story. Just like the Diver family, Kvick had also had trouble finding his dog that day.
It turned out that Maddy the terrier had been missing when Kvick had gone to town that morning and had still been absent when he had returned. There had, however, been a different dog waiting for him: Louie. But Louie hadn’t been there looking for treats; he had been trying to tell Kvick something.
Kvick had had no doubt what Louie had wanted: the dog had been trying to lead him somewhere. Kvick had subsequently followed Louie, who had led him to the missing Maddy. A woodpile had somehow trapped the poor terrier, and she hadn’t been able to get out by herself.
Marolyn told The Dodo, “[Kvick] said he was 100 percent sure that Louie knew what he was doing. Getting [Kvick] to Maddy was his one pure focus.” But Louie hadn’t finished helping out; he joined the farmer in digging Maddy free from her prison.
Eventually, they had freed Maddy, and both she and Louie had gone straight to the stream for a drink. Kvick had consequently treated the hero of the hour to some dog biscuits and had attached the note to Louie’s collar. Indeed, he hadn’t wanted the dog to get into trouble after such a rescue.
But Louie isn’t as young as he once was, and the frantic digging exhausted him. “That night we were very worried about Louie,” Marolyn recalled. “He could hardly walk and looked terrible; we were scared that he might not make it through the night.”
Marolyn reported that Louie had indeed made it through the night, and someone had anxiously been waiting to see him. “The next morning, [Kvick] came over on his bike with Maddy in a wee basket in the back,” Marolyn said. “Louie perked up and was back to normal!”
Louie’s heroic rescue not only made him the talk of the town, but his story has also spread internationally. On November 1, 2017, Marolyn told Stuff, “Hundreds of stories popped up. A day didn’t go by without people requesting a few words from me.”
“Then the questions started coming in different languages,” Marolyn continued. “So many people have told me how touched they were. And the… comments [were] people saying, dogs are the best, this story has made my day. It’s been awesome to be a part of it.”
“I’ve really enjoyed the sweet and touching feedback from all over the world,” Marolyn concluded. So Louie is a hero to many people, but no doubt his humans are the heroes in his life. They rescued him from a shelter was he was just a puppy, after all.
As much as they’ve always loved Louie, though, his recent actions have opened their eyes even more. Marolyn told The Dodo, “It has changed the way I look at him, and I think my parents feel the same way. I’m so proud of him.”