A retired Uniting Church minister has been reunited with his beloved border collie after his car was stolen on Wednesday, with his dog still inside.
Rev George Buckle lost his dog, Rose, during a recent visit to an IGA in Kangaroo Flat. The 83-year-old left his keys in his car while he entered the supermarket to grab a newspaper. When he returned, his car was gone, along with Rose.
Mr Buckle and Rose have travelled more than 12,000 kilometres together, including a drive to Alice Springs via Broome.
They also offer each other support through difficult times. When Mr Buckle’s wife, Joan, passed away three years ago, Rose’s companionship helped him through his grief.
Although Mr Buckle is retired, he still provides pastoral support to the Long Gully congregation and other churches in the Bendigo region.
The local community rallied around Mr Buckle, and news of Rose’ disappearance was quickly shared through various social media networks.
Rose was eventually found wandering in Flora Hill, several kilometres east of Kangaroo Flat. A member from the Bendigo Lost Dogs and Info Facebook group spotted Rose near a Video Ezy store. She contacted a ranger, who returned Rose to her relieved owner.
The stolen car, a white Holden Commodore VS station wagon, yet to be found.
Mr Buckle told The Bendigo Advertiser he was overwhelmed by the support he received from the community.
“I was ecstatic – just ecstatic – to be reunited with her,” he said. “I didn’t care about the car, just the dog.”
“I never go anywhere without the dog, she grieves for me if I’m not around.”