Hiking through Australia’s Mount Glorious National Park was bound to give this trio of ramblers some excellent photo opportunities. On this particular trip, however, they got much more than they bargained for – and it turns into a seriously heartwarming story.
On July 24, 2016, social media user Jessica Paton, a.k.a. Dangerm0use, shared her family’s story of the previous day’s hike in the aforementioned Queensland natural forest. But, for once, it wasn’t selfies of her, her husband Luke McMillan or her father Graham that brought the incredible tale international fame.
No, this tale is one of adventure and human ingenuity. So how did it start? “My husband and I took my dad to see some rock pools in a fairly secluded section of Mt. Glorious National Park. As we walked along the creek bed, we noticed a disturbance in one of the deep pools ahead,” Paton wrote on imgur.
Naturally, the trio kept quiet so as not to scare away whatever was splashing around in the pool. Paton also got her camera ready, convinced that they were about to see some of Australia’s signature wildlife. Could it be a platypus, or maybe even a kangaroo? In fact, it was the last thing that they expected to see struggling in the water: a Staffordshire bull terrier.
The sorrowful look on the dog’s face hit Paton right in the feels. “It was honestly the saddest sight,” she wrote. In truth, the canine was exhausted from its difficult swim in the ice-cold creek and looked in trouble. The group decided, then, to do their best to help.
“We approached cautiously, not knowing whether this was a domesticated or wild dog,” Paton wrote. “We erred on the side of caution and armed ourselves with a BFS (big f***ing stick), just in case it wanted to defend itself when we pulled it out of the water.”
As all good hikers should, this group had prepared well for their outing in the woods. In fact, they had brought a rope, and they now used this to create a makeshift harness. That done, they looped it around the dog’s body and, after some toil, managed to drag the poor pooch back to solid ground. The Staffie was saved, but it was still looking a little – ahem – ruff.
“The dog wasn’t aggressive at all, and in fact very timidly lumbered away from us, up the bank and into the thick lantana beside the pool,” Paton recounted. “As it turned away from us, we saw that she was a de-sexed female – at some stage she must’ve been domesticated.”
So, following the retreating dog’s “podgy little rump,” they tracked her down to a den that she’d dug out into the bank. “She was still apprehensive, but not aggressive… [I gave her] a scratch on the head… and she rewarded me with a lick on the hand,” Paton wrote.
“Despite obviously having been camped there for at least a few days, we noted that our little companion wasn’t exactly lacking in mass, leading us to dub her Miss Piggy,” Paton said. The trio also began considering options as to how to get the lost pooch off Mount Glorious.
The rescuers’ first attempt was, then, to use the rope harness to try and coax or carry Miss Piggy away from the bank of the pool. But the chubby little cutie wasn’t a keen hiker, and, as Miss Piggy weighed about 80 pounds, even taking turns carrying her would be awkward on the trails.
Miss Piggy also had her own ideas. Indeed, she managed to wiggle out of her harness during the trek and made a break for freedom. She was still exhausted from the swim, however, and she didn’t get far.
“Miss Piggy was understandably frightened and worn out, so we sat a bit longer trying to give her some time to calm down, with lots of pats and reassurance,” Paton described. “The little sweetie showed her appreciation of our patience by wriggling over to me and resting her head on my leg.”
It was no wonder that Miss Piggy had become trapped on Mount Glorious, though. After all, even with the three humans helping the pooch, they were still struggling to get her out of the gully. And they were quickly running out of options.
But just when things were looking difficult, McMillan had an idea. “My husband [remembered] that we had a large canvas bag in our car (15 mins walk back up the creek). We figured that if we could get her into the bag, we could MacGyver together some apparatus to transport her out,” Paton reported.
“The boys scavenged a strong branch and threaded it through the [canvas bag’s] handles, lifting Miss Piggy in her bag up above the lantana and vines,” Paton explained. But even with this handy hammock, the journey wasn’t easy. “The boys put in a mammoth effort, including the [10-foot] vertical climb to the road,” she continued.
Paton also said that Miss Piggy looked ecstatic to be out of the bush. “During the trip home she seemed to relax a lot more. When we opened the back of the car, we were greeted with a different dog – the little tail was going a mile a minute,” she wrote.
So the rescuers took Miss Piggy home and fed her, and then they started the search for her real owners. Fortunately, social media once again proved very useful for reuniting a lost pet with its human. Indeed, it only took 30 minutes for them to track down her real owner, who lived nine miles from Mount Glorious.
“We were stoked until he referred to the dog as ‘Bob,’ and our hearts sank thinking he had lost a male dog,” Paton said. “However, he confirmed that ‘Elly-Bobby’ (named after Ricky Bobby) was indeed his little girl, with various physical characteristics to prove it.” Elly-Bobby had been missing since June 30, 2016, which was almost a whole month.
Understandably, the distraught dog owner had launched a huge social media campaign to try and find his missing pooch. And he was ever grateful to Paton’s family for finding her. “We were just happy to have been in the right place at the right time to be able to help her,” Paton concluded. Happily, Bob is back in her owner’s arms. What’s more, she likely won’t be going on walkabout again anytime soon.