19 October 2022

Beloved pet found after three weeks missing, dog-gone it

| Sally Hopman
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Tibetan mastiff Ketu, pictured on Monday after she was reunited with her owners after missing for three weeks. She was in “perfect health” just 7kg lighter. Photo: Shea McCausland.

A much-loved family pet and assistance dog, Ketu, who went missing from her Kambah home more than three weeks ago, has been found safe and well about a kilometre away – and about 7 kilos lighter.

Ketu was found on Monday (17 October) in what the vet described as “perfect health”, according to her owner, Shea McCausland.

Shea, a child-care worker and her partner Brendan, a mechanic, had just moved house to Isabella Plains. They kept Ketu at their in-laws’ Kambah home while they worked during the day, picking her up after work.

“But we think she might have had a panic attack on the Tuesday because she’d eaten through the paling fence,” Shea said. “We got there after work like we always do, and she was gone.

“I couldn’t believe it. We’ve had her since she was born. She’s an emotional support dog for me and my partner. I have a number of medical issues and she’s always been there for me.

“She’s all through my medical documentation as a support dog, she has been through so much with us. I couldn’t believe she was gone.”

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But just on three weeks later, Shea received a call from the ACT Government’s Domestic Animal Services asking her to come to see a dog it had found in a Kambah yard but couldn’t catch.

It was Ketu. She’d made herself quite at home in the yard of an elderly man’s property. A neighbour had tried to feed her but she had refused, being trained not to accept food from strangers.

“We don’t really know what happened,” Shea said. “The elderly man had left all his gates open so she could go, but she stayed. He couldn’t speak English very well so we don’t know what happened. But he did manage to let us know that he was so glad her owners had found her.

“When the Domestic Animal Services rang me I tried not to get my hopes too high because three weeks is a long time for a dog to go missing. But in the back of my mind, I was hoping it was her.”

And it was. Trained not to jump on humans, Shea said she didn’t mind a hoot when Ketu first saw her and briefly forgot the training. She leapt so high on to Shea, she thought she’d fall over – and delivered an enormous lick to the side of her face.

Man and woman wirth dog on his shoulders

Ketu is held in the highest esteem by Shea and Brendan McCausland so her return this week, after three weeks missing, was little short of a blessing. Photo: Shea McCausland.

“I started bawling like a baby,” Shea said. “For a dog that doesn’t jump …. well, she jumped. But I didn’t mind.

“This is why it was so important for us to find her. She’s our emotional support but I think we have been the same for her. It was such a special moment. She’s always been such a soothing animal for us … I can’t explain what it felt like to have her back.

“We really want to thank everyone who helped share our story on the noticeboards via social media. We couldn’t believe how wonderful and kind people have been to share her story and to offer advice.

“We had people from right down at Batemans Bay, Cooma, out to Yass and Goulburn as well as from Victoria and lots of other places. It was amazing.”

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Ketu’s return was perfect timing for Shea – she’s booked into hospital on Friday, 21 October to give birth to the couple’s first child. The stress of searching for Ketu was taking its toll but now, she said, life couldn’t be better.

“Having her home now has made this week so much better, it’s been a rough one for us. But now all is well and we’re looking forward to Friday.”

Pawprint: Although Ketu was described in the social media posts as being of mixed breed, she is in fact a Tibetan Mastiff. The couple was concerned the odds would be even higher against her being returned if it were known she was such a rare breed.

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What a great story! I am so happy for a happy ending and they are all back together. Thanks also to those wonderful workers at DAS who go out of their way for these animals and have to put up with so much!!

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