Lost dog survives two weeks in croc-infested mangroves

Dog hitches ride from Queensland to South Australia
ABC North Qld


Anna Hartley


April 13, 2018 12:20:22

Larinda Hopton and her other dog Ted were overjoyed when they were finally reunited with Fred. (Supplied: Larinda Hopton)
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“We were told so many times crocs were in there and that they had even eaten dogs there before.”I nearly lost my voice calling for him.”When the tide was out the family took a risk. When a far north Queensland family heard their lost dog was last seen entering crocodile-infested mangroves, they thought he was a goner.Larinda Hopton spent her entire school holidays handing out flyers, posting on social media and searching the streets of Cairns for their beloved Maltese shih tzu cross Fred after he went missing in Cairns a fortnight ago.The family was starting to doubt they would ever find Fred. Even just thinking about it now chokes me up.”He’s now vet checked, bathed and sleeping peacefully under our bed. Photo:
The mangroves where missing dog Fred spent two weeks. “I got down and literally crawled on the grass and held his ball up, and then he realised it was us. Photo:
Jason Hopton takes Fred home after he was missing for two weeks. It was such a big space,” she said. They searched through the extensive mangroves in the hope Fred was still alive.Despite the obvious dangers involved in their search, the far north Queensland locals said the possibility of finding their pet was worth the risk.”The tide was out and we could see quite clearly,” Mrs Hopton said.”Crocodiles were definitely a worry but we were careful.”Family reunited with dog in ‘miracle’ momentAfter hours of searching, Mrs Hopton said their naturally shy rescue dog resurfaced from the mangroves, only to run back in. “I can’t believe he’s home. He came over and kissed us to death.”Aside from a little weight loss, Fred came out of the experience unharmed.”He’s just very tired,” Mrs Hopton said. (Supplied: Larinda Hopton)
“We heard of so many sightings over the two weeks, but we were starting to lose hope,” Mrs Hopton said.”We jumped in the car straight away.”When they arrived where Fred was last seen, Mrs Hopton burst into tears.”I just hung my head in my hands. But yesterday morning they received a tip from someone who had seen him running into known crocodile habitat. It was that support that really got us through.” (ABC North Queensland: Anna Hartley)
“We were calling out to Fred and our other dog Ted yelped and howled, and 10 minutes after that this little white dog appeared,” she said. It was a miracle.”Community support helped save dog’s lifeMrs Hopton is not a regular Facebook user, but said she was blown away with how far her family’s story spread online.Without the extensive support online and in their community, she believed Fred would not be alive today.”We rang as many people as we could and handed out flyers, but within seconds when we put it on Facebook we had so many replies,” she said.”It just happened so quickly and it was incredible.
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