Community gets behind ‘Where’s Wally’ call

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Mr Kaleyias says Wally loved to escape to go and play with the dog next door. “I was really scared that somebody stole Wally and was taking him to places where they make dogs fight,” he said. Photo:
Wally’s had a vet check-up and is now recovering from his ordeal. At least there’s hope of that after him being sighted,” wrote Alison W.In the eight days Wally was missing, owner Pavlos Kaleyias had serious concerns about what might have happened to the young Staffy. (Supplied: Pavlos Kaleyias)
Wally the escape artistAccording to Mr Kaleyias, Wally has always been a bit of a wizard at sneaking out.The patched-up holes under the Kaleyias family’s fence are testament to his tunnelling efforts.Mr Kaleyias said the cheeky puppy could usually be found at the house next door enjoying afternoon snacks and playing with the neighbour’s pooch.But last Tuesday, Wally did not come home.Mr Kaleyias began his search that night and soon heard reports that a dog with a similar description to Wally had been hit by a car about four kilometres away.He heard the driver and some bystanders had attempted to stop and help the animal but it had been too quick and disappeared into the night.Wally finds his way homeSue Macklin first heard about a missing dog called Wally from a neighbour in Murwillumbah. A simple social media post asking “Where’s Wally?” sent a community on the north coast of New South Wales into overdrive to find a missing 17-month-old English Staffordshire terrier.Offers of help for the Murwillumbah family poured in from far and wide, including from Tasmania and from overseas after the family’s dog went missing a week ago.A sniffer dog even came down from Queensland to render assistance.The northern rivers community and those abroad spent more than a week searching before Wally turned up, hungry and a little worse for wear.The Murwillumbah resident who found Wally, said it was the combined efforts of social media, posters and word-of-mouth, that allowed her to recognise the missing pet when she spotted him at the rugby field — 2.5 kilometres from his owner’s home. “Immediately I recognised him and I called him but he kept running away,” Ms Macklin said.”I sent my dog off into the other oval and then called, called, called and then he did a great big arc and came over and he cuddled into me and it was beautiful.”Ms Macklin said she was able to use the phone number on Wally’s tag to contact his owner who came down straight away.”The tail started wagging, he was a happy little boy, as was his mum,” she said.Kerry Kaleyias took Wally to the gym where her husband was training.”I ran upstairs thinking that she had a phone call, but she had Wally with her,” Mr Kaleyias said.”He was very excited, he hasn’t stopped licking my face.”Mr Kaleyias said he could not believe the social media response to the news that Wally had been found in only the first hour since posting the good news.”There were nearly 500 people who contacted me this morning to tell me ‘Congratulations, you found Wally’,” he said.Wally’s recoveryMr Kaleyias said after a minor prang with a car and eight days missing, Wally was not in the best shape when he returned home. Thousands engaged with the post and it was shared hundreds of times across a number of different sites.But after more than a week, there was still no word on Wally’s whereabouts.”Walking around Riveroak Dr, hundred hills, every morning, keeping eyes and ears open,” wrote Bernie M.”I can probably get my mum to take me around the golf course in her buggy tomorrow morning if she’s not working,” wrote Amanda F.”He’s trying so hard to come home. (Facebook: Pavlos Kaleyias)
“He looks miserable, he looks exhausted, he looks dirty, and the injuries, they probably are infected,” he said.”No-one looked after him, he looked after himself for eight days.”Wally was taken to King Street Veterinary Hospital, where he was examined and treated for his wounded leg.Veterinarian Dr Samantha Bicknell said Wally’s wounds were consistent with being hit by a car, but he should make a full recovery. Photo:
Where’s Wally posters were put up around Murwillumbah in addition to social media posts. (Facebook: Pavlos Kaleyias)
A few days later she saw a poster stuck to a tree with a picture of a missing dog with a black-and-white eye patch.It was that poster that helped her recognise the wayward pup when she was walking her own dog at the rugby fields early the next morning. Community rallies to find WallyFamily and friends posted Wally’s picture to social media for leads on his whereabouts and it did not take long for the pooch with the black-and-white eye patch to resonate with the community.
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Mr Kaleyias says he can smile again now that Wally has been found. (Supplied: Pavlos Kaleyias)
ABC North Coast

By Leah White and Wiriya Sati

Posted

May 17, 2018 11:17:22
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