A Cattle-Mustering Pilot Recounts The Miracle Of Finding Lost Dog: ‘Needle In A Haystack’

After the owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier took an eye off his dog for a moment, he turned around to find himself in every pet owner’s nightmare. Suddenly he couldn’t find his lost dog, and was in the middle of West Australia’s Pilbara region with no way to find it. Thank goodness for his saviour; a local cattle-mustering pilot with a rescue chopper at the ready. 

Nobody likes stories about a lost dog, so because tension caused by the uncertainty of if the pup will be found is unbearable we’re going to clarify extremely early on that THE DOG GETS FOUND AND ALL IS WELL, OKAY?

Now you can read further with utmost comfort that a happy ending is on its way. 

An outback, a 4WD, and a lost dog

Late in April, Jamie Rooney was venturing near the Western Australian mining town Newman with his dog Rocky. 

After making a stop to recalibrate his directions, Jamie let Rocky take a quick swim in a nearby riverbed. However, after going to and from his car, Rocky was nowhere to be seen. 

“I went back to get something from the car and as I came back, he’s gone,” Jamie told the ABC.

Jamie reported that he got on top of his car, shouting Rocky’s name, and looked around the nearby area — to no avail.

Four hours later with no dog in sight, it was at this point when Jamie “started to panic”.

The Australian Outback is a YUGE place. To say that finding an American Staffordshire Terrier — or a lost dog of any sort — is a difficult task would be an understatement. 

An American Staffordshire Terrier. (Source: Getty Stock)

Thankfully, Jamie had a knight in shining armour just around the corner in the form of a local rescue chopper he drove past earlier that day.

Get to the chopper

Jamie recalled that he saw an airport with rescue helicopters while on his drive that day, so he used the powers of the modern world (the internet) to find the number of the company and request their aid.

Some short time later, pilot Jack Poplawski landed at Jamie’s location, let the solo traveller jump in the heli, and they set off on the search for Rocky.

However, even armed with a superior view and mode of transport, the odds were not in Jamie and Jack’s favour.

“At the start, they said, ‘Look, it’s a needle in the haystack,” Jamie recalled, per the publication.

“Once you leave maybe 5-10 minutes out of town, it’s just nothing. It’s just vast outback land.”

Rescue helicopters in WA. (Source: Getty Stock)

What Jamie didn’t know, however, was that he wasn’t flying with any old pilot. Jack had a history as a cattle musterer, which meant he was familiar with what to look for when it came to animal tracks.

So basically, Jamie called for help and was answered by what we can only imagine to be Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin with the superpower of flight. 

And after an hour of flying, Jack saw something that gave him hope — animal tracks.

“They were a bit of a larger track compared to a standard dingo or a wild dog’s tracks. I was certain they would have been his,” he said.

Suddenly the “needle in a haystack” hunters had shrunk the size of the haystack, and exponentially grown their needle.

In no time at all, Jack followed the footsteps and markings from the sky and was able to find Rocky alongside a creek.

Jamie and Rocky were reunited, which is enough to make anybody cry. 

 “I did shed a tear,” Jamie admitted.

“I didn’t think I was going to find him.”

Hats off to the flying animal-tracking legend Jack for his incredible search and rescue work. Exactly what we love to see.

[Image: Getty]

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