‘New Zealand is not that big a place’: the nine-month, $20,000 search for two lost dogs


A couple living on the South Island’s Otago Peninsula are not giving up hope of finding their beloved dogs – despite having spent $20,000 (£10,400) and nine months scouring the country for them, to no avail.

Nine-year-old black poodle Dice and three-year-old fox terrier Weed went missing from Alan Funnell and Louisa Andrew’s home in October last year.

Since then, Funnell has spent one weekend a month traversing the South Island searching for them.

He and Andrew say they have put up about 400 signs and spent at least NZ$20,000 in their mission.

“Our dogs to us are like our family, we just know they are out there somewhere,” Funnell said. “New Zealand is really not that big a place.”

The saga started when Andrew went to feed the couple’s chickens and let the dogs out of the car. They ran off, perhaps chasing a rabbit, and did not return.

“We called and called, and they didn’t come,” said Funnell. “We love our animals. They are great wee dogs. We are not going to give up until we find them.”

Members of the public have helped with putting up signs which are now spread throughout country – from the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.

The couple have raised more than $10,000 to help with the search from almost 300 donors. “We got a huge amount of support throughout New Zealand and we are lucky to have that,” Funnell said.

Funnell thinks the dogs were picked up by tourists after a sighting came through of two dogs being tied to a campervan in the area.

“We have been through a rollercoaster of emotions in the process of it all. We are sure they are alive. We have come to being positive about things,” said Funnell.

“We can feel them out there.”