Couple Deploys Search Crew and Helicopter To Find Lost Beagle Until Owners Receive Surprising News
When one of your family members goes missing, you do everything to make sure they get back home, safe and sound. That is exactly what Matt and Grace Newman-Hall did, only their situation was a little different. The family member that was lost was a precious Beagle named Benny. Even though he’s a dog, they were willing to do whatever it took to bring Benny home. The hunt for Benny quickly became one of the biggest stories that city had ever seen and pretty soon, thousands were joining in on the search for find little Benny. Read on to hear the epic tale of Benny the Beagle and the massive search to save his life.
1. One Big Happy Family
It was a regular Thursday at the Newman-Hall household in Wellington, New Zealand. Husband and wife, Matt and Grace went to work as usual and came home as usual. Their family is quite large, consisting of themselves, two Beagles and a cat.
The Beagles are named Benny and Spike, and the cat’s name is Peanut. During the day a dog walker comes by to take Benny and Spike out for a nice afternoon walk, after which the dog walker brings them home.
2. The Calm Before The Storm
The Newman-Hall family love each of their furry family members equally and thoroughly enjoy coming home every day to three happy wagging tails, two of them belonging to their beloved Beagles. But what they didn’t know on that peaceful Thursday was that everything was about to change.
When Friday came around, April 6, 2018, everything seemed normal to Matt and Grace at first. The morning was as usual, but then they received word that something terrible had happened. It was the call that no pet parent ever wants to get.
3. The Escape
Benny and Spike were taken out for their daily afternoon walk, as usual, but only one of them returned home. Benny managed to get away from the dog walker and escaped into the woods. Every dog walker’s biggest fear.
Benny was on a walk inside Belmont Regional Park when he got away from the dog walker, the largest of the Wellington Regional Parks. The dog walker did everything she could to find him, but eventually, the time came. The owners had to be notified.
4. The Shock
Surely enough, when Matt and Grace arrived home that day, someone was missing. That family member was Benny the Beagle, their precious pup who would usually be standing at the door, wagging his tail happily. Now this sweet little dog was missing out in the wilderness. Only Spike was home to greet them.
That’s when the shock set in that one of their family members had gone missing and they had to find him. The sooner the better! Matt and Grace raced off to the park near where the dog walker said that Benny had gotten loose.
5. The Wait
Matt and Grace raced back to the park, to Benny’s last known location. For hours and hours, they searched the area. But they did not find a trace of Benny the Beagle. The beloved dog was nowhere to be found.
Matt decided to sleep in his car in the park’s parking lot with his door open, hoping that Benny would pick up on Matt’s scent and jump into the car. But Matt wasn’t so lucky, even though he slept in the parking lot for multiple days.
Matt and Grace started to grow more and more concerned about the fate of their beloved Benny. They knew how he acted with them at home and therefore they couldn’t imagine how he would act in the wild, alone and scared.
“He’s a lovely, easy-going puppy. Really a home soul, as soon as you sit down on the Lazy Boy he jumps up onto your lap and rolls onto his back for a bit of a cuddle,” Matt stated. Coping at home grew harder as the days passed without Benny.
7. Days of Sadness
“When he’s out he’s just howling with joy and wants to play with every dog, every kid, every person. He’s just a really lovely dog,” Matt lamented. He and his wife weren’t about to give up on their furry loved one.
Even though days had passed, Matt and Grace kept calm and took measures into their own hands, forming search parties to scour the park in hopes of locating the lost Beagle. But they quickly learned that utilizing friends and family wouldn’t be enough. They needed to take the search to a larger scale.
8. The Power of Social Media
The mourning couple took to Facebook and set up a page called “Bring Benny Home.” Grace posted photos of Benny the Beagle, as well as his last known location, even though enough time had passed that he could have been anywhere in the massive park.
The page spread through the interwebs like wildfire, quickly gaining more than a thousand followers, many of them local residents of the area, willing to help search the park for poor Benny the Beagle. But still, more was needed to find the missing pup.
9. Time Running Short
Over five days had passed since Benny the Beagle went missing in Belmont Regional Park and tensions were thickening. The thought that Matt and Grace’s beloved Beagle was out in the wilderness, alone without any food or water, was breaking their hearts more and more.
In times of crisis, it’s easy to place blame on someone for the tragic events that are unfolding, in this case the dog walker, but Matt and Grace tried their best to remain calm. “We’re really upset… and it shouldn’t have happened, but it is something that I guess is a risk,” Matt said at the time.
10. The Search Widens
Apart from mobilizing the entire neighborhood via Facebook, Matt and Grace also contacted every animal rescue agency that they could think of. They called local shelters to see if maybe he had been turned in. They also called the SPCA National Rescue Unit for assistance in finding Benny.
Matt and Grace even printed out posters and left them around the area, in mailboxes of houses nearby, on the farms nearby and more. Pretty soon, there wasn’t a soul in Belmont Regional Park that hadn’t heard of Benny the Beagle or wasn’t on the lookout for him.
11. The Storm
If not being able to find Benny the Beagle wasn’t the worst news that Matt and Grace could receive, it turns out a huge winter storm was brewing. Ice and snow were expected in the forecast and Benny was still out there somewhere, without shelter.
That weekend, a big storm hit. There was snow, ice and even tornados. But Matt and Grace still weren’t giving up hope that their precious Benny was still out there, trying to get home. If they were going to find him, they would need a professional search crew.
12. The Big Guns
Thankfully for Matt and Grace, the search and rescue teams were out in full force trying to find Benny the Beagle. They even brought in a helicopter to assist with the search, complete with infrared technology, to locate the pup.
One expert, Jordan Munn, using the special tracking equipment, spent two hours surveying the area of the park where Benny was last seen by helicopter. But as luck would have it, they turned up empty handed. Benny the Beagle was still nowhere to be found.
13. Expert Opinions
“There’s a lot of variables and we can’t control where exactly the dog is. If it’s hiding under a rock, you’re obviously not going to get a heat signature from it,” one expert from the team told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Now that we haven’t seen the heat signature in the immediate area, we have some concerns that someone’s picked him up as he came out,” the expert added. Now, not only was there concern that Benny might not be alive any longer, but that he had been unknowingly taken by another family.
14. The Reward
As the days went by, the chances of finding Benny the Beagle were growing slimmer. And now there was a new concern that someone had taken the beloved Beagle. While Benny escaped with his collar and leash, it is possible that he got out of them.
That, or it was possible that someone had found Benny and was unwilling to return him to his rightful owners. So, Matt and Grace decided to offer a reward for the return of Benny in the amount of $500.
15. Day Nine
Nine days had passed since Benny’s disappearance and people were starting to lose hope. Over a thousand volunteers had searched the park where the Beagle went missing, as well as a helicopter using state-of-the-art technology. But the dog hadn’t been found.
Dogs are resourceful animals and can survive on their own for long periods of time. However, the main concern was the recent bad weather, and whether the Beagle could have survived. But just when things were beginning to look their worst, a spark of hope appeared.
16. Alicia and Justin
Alicia and Justin, good friends of Benny’s owners, decided to take one last trip to Belmont Regional Park and help look for the Beagle, like they had done many times before. But this time things were different.
This time they were determined to search for the missing Beagle as thoroughly as possible and in places where others most likely hadn’t looked before. Belmont Park is full of forested areas, hills, deep ravines and other difficult obstacles. But that wasn’t about to stop this determined couple and what happened next was simply amazing.
17. The Climb
Alicia and Justin started off their search in the same places as hundreds of others: at Benny’s last known location. When they came to a ravine, something told them to stop. The terrain seemed impossible to climb, but knowing few people, if any, had checked there, they felt they had no option.
The ravine Alicia and Justin were attempting to climb was rocky and scratched their legs repeatedly, like hundreds of paper-cuts. There was also a small waterfall pouring down the middle, but they pushed on and finally got to the top. And that’s when they saw something…
18. Miracle in the Ravine
When Alicia and Justin finally got to the top of the ravine, they saw him: Benny the Beagle. After nine whole days, Benny was found just a few hundred feet from where he had run away from his dog walker.
Benny didn’t make a sound when he was found, just stood wagging his tail. He was unable to move more than just a few steps because his leash had gotten stuck on a log. But luckily he was close enough to the waterfall to use it as drinking water.
19. True Miracle
Alicia and Justin immediately took a video of them finding the dog to send to Matt and Grace. It was a miracle that they found the Beagle and the screams of joy were loud and abundant. But they weren’t home free just yet…
Just as they had climbed the steep ravine and waterfall, they would have to make the journey down. But this time they had to take Benny with them. The going was slow and took three hours, but they eventually made it back down the ravine.
20. Time To Go Home
Now that Benny had finally been found and rescued, it was time to go home and be reunited with his family and the fellow pets. Not only did Matt and Grace miss Benny terribly, but so did his fellow Beagle, Spike, and cat-friend Peanut.
The very first thing that Matt and Grace did after giving Benny a big hug and kiss was to get him to a vet immediately. Visibly, Benny was very thin but they didn’t know if the Beagle had sustained a long-term injury or had any other medical issues.
21. Benny’s Health
Matt and Grace raced Benny to the local emergency vet, knowing that they weren’t out of the woods yet. Nine days without food and no shelter, especially since there was a winter storm, could do severe damage to an innocent dog.
Benny was checked by the vet and luckily his health was good. He lost 6.5 lbs during the nine days he was lost but thanks to the waterfall, he was able to stay well hydrated. “Overall he has come out of his ordeal in very good health,” Grace wrote on Facebook.
22. Road To Recovery
Luckily Benny’s road to recovery wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. He had to be reintroduced to food slowly, and regain some of the lost weight. The Beagle’s first night back home was spent sleeping in between his two humans.
Slowly, as the days went by, Benny started eating normally and regained some of his lost weight. He also started becoming more active, like his usual self. “We can’t express how thankful we are,” Grace said.
23. A Heartfelt Thank You
Grace took to Facebook to thank her friends Alicia and Justin for finding the family’s beloved Benny. “They went on an epic mission up a ravine, climbed a waterfall and risked their own safety in the hopes of coming across him.”
“Benny was not making a peep, but somehow they managed to find him anyway. He was stuck to a log by the lead, unable to move more than a few steps in any direction. Luckily, he had access to water,” she added.
24. Thanks To Facebook
The happy couple, now reunited with their Beagle, thanked all of their supporters on Facebook for their help. Even people who didn’t know the family spent their time and energy into looking for Benny. Grace also thanked the rescue unit.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the SPCA National Rescue Unit. Their staff and volunteers are amazing and so willing to help. We are incredibly grateful for the assistance they provided us in finding our lost dog Benny. Thanks so much again guys!” Grace wrote on Facebook.
25. A Thank You BBQ
“Because of you all, and your phenomenal support, tonight I was able to sit in my lounge and hear my 2 pups snoring away like nothing ever happened. Thank you so much,” Matt wrote on Facebook.
To show their thankfulness, Matt and Grace arranged to throw a BBQ in honor of finding Benny and to thank all the people who took their time to help. Loads of people came to celebrate together, along with their own pets.
26. A Pooped Pooch
After the BBQ, the family uploaded a photo of Benny the Beagle showing just how tired he was after all the excitement and attention. “Benny may still be a little pooped after his party yesterday,” the caption went.
It turns out that Benny’s Facebook page soon helped find another dog in need. New Zealanders are very pet conscience people. The country of New Zealand has a population of only 4.7 million and over 60% of the population owns a pet. In fact, pets actually outnumber humans in the Pacific island nation. Read on to see what happened.
27. A Gift That Keeps Giving
On May 6, 2018, a cute black and white dog by the name of Spencer went missing in Wainuiomata, just north of Wellington. Fortunately, Benny the Beagle’s group of animal lovers was able to be mobilized again for good.
Just one day later Spencer was reunited with his family. Someone had found the dog wandering alone and taken him to a local vet. Luckily he had a microchip and his owners were able to be contacted quickly.
28. What To Do First
If your dog becomes lost, the first thing you should is stay calm. Check the area where you lost him or her thoroughly, walking in a spiral formation. If your dog is microchipped, also call the company to inform them that your dog is lost.
In New Zealand, all dogs, as of July 2006, are required to be microchipped. That way they can be returned to their owners in cases when they get lost and are brought into shelters or veterinary clinics.
29. Next Steps
If you don’t find your dog then you should make sure people are aware that your animal is missing. Like in Benny the Beagle’s case, make flyers, inform neighbors and call shelters, vet offices and rescue services. And remember, social media can make a huge difference.
By using social media platforms, like how Matt and Grace used Facebook, people in your area can quickly be alerted to the fact that your dog is missing and help in the return of your furry friend. Also, always take some treats when you’re out searching for lost animals.
30. GPS Tracking
If you want to be extra cautious, then you can also get your dog a GPS tracker that is either built into the dog’s collar or a chip that attaches to the collar. That way you will always be able to find your furry little friend, no matter where he or she is.
Many of the GPS trackers connect to smartphone apps and are quite affordable. You should also think about getting pet insurance and if you use a dog walker, make sure that they have dog walker insurance.
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