Dammit: the lost and found dog of Lismore
STORMY weather reunited a Lismore man with a dog that went missing nearly a decade ago but the rendez-vous was over almost as soon as the lightning.
Lee Knight said he first bought a "mutt: part Labby, Kelpie, Grey Hound and Staffy" the year after he finished high school and named it Dammit.
He said that although he had Dammit tethered to a steel cable running around the perimeter of the house, Dammit "occasionally would get loose and play with the kids at the high school across the road two or three times a week".
"I came home from work one night and his collar looked like it had been cut or maybe chewed through" said Mr Knight.
He said he had doted on Dammit and had created a My Space profile for him.
"I called the pound and did the poster thing but came up with nothing" he said.
"I gave up hope after a month."
Last week, nearly ten years after Dammit disappeared, there was a dramatic storm in Lismore.
Julie Curtis had stopped in a petrol station when she noticed a bedraggled dog seeking shelter from the thunder and rain.
"He was grey around the muzzle," she said. "You could tell he was old."
Ms Curtis had the dog scanned for a microchip and the registered owner was found within minutes.
"He was totally dumbfounded," said Ms Curtis of Mr Knight's reaction when he arrived at the petrol station and saw Dammit.
"The dog didn't even recognise him.
"I was hoping for a wonderful reunion."
Mr Knight said Dammit was "three times the size of when I last saw him" and he was "not sure if he recognised me or not but he followed me to the ute and happily wagged his tail".
He said he "gave him a feed" but his fiancee was allergic to dogs so he couldn't keep him.
Ten years after posting "lost dog" posters around town, Mr Knight posted "found" notices for Dammit on social media sites.
"After a year or two I figured he had a new family.
"You can't really keep at it forever when you lose a pet.
"I wouldn't want to tear a family apart just because I could have my dog back again after ten years when I can't even keep him," he said.
After sifting through replies to his post he found one that matched: photos of the applicant on social media included photos of Dammit.
When he rang, the applicant confirmed an intimate detail of Dammit's physique: a slight lump on one leg.
"He was all excited when the car pulled up," said Mr Knight of the moment Dammit's longtime owner arrived to collect him.
"I have two cats now. One has a Facebook page."