Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Mummy saw this on the internet. She is suposed to be writing an oral history proposal, not surfing the web, but she thought she’d share it with you.
Huntaway wheelbarrowed out of the Tararuas after night alone in the bush
George Vaughan and Chris Peterson and his dog Gem in the wheelbarrow they used to transport her out from Mt Holdsworth.
A much-loved pet dog that was too heavy to carry spent a freezing night in the night in the bush before being rescued with a community effort.
Masterton conservationist Chris Peterson was taking his partner’s 12-year-old Huntaway bitch, Gem, for a walk in the Tararua ranges when the old girl collapsed and could walk no further.
They were on a steep section of track above the Atiwhakatu River, over an hour’s tramp from the end of Mt Holdsworth Road.
Peterson made the wrenching decision to leave Gem there overnight as she was too heavy to carry, but some passing trampers provided an emergency blanket to cover her for the frosty night ahead.
The next morning Peterson walked back in and managed to find the dog with the help of a couple of concerned trampers.
They hauled her down to the more accessible Atiwhakatu Track near the river but she was still unable to walk unaided.
Still struggling to carry the 50-60kg dog, another helpful tramper suggested a wheelbarrow.
Peterson’s neighbour George Vaughan offered to help and he wheeled the dog out in the barrow.
The 18-year-old outdoor pursuits student is a regular runner in the hills and found the walk out with the dog quite straightforward.
But the pair had to lift Gem and the wheelbarrow up and down several sections of steps before they were able to reach the road end before darkness fell.
“It was a privilege to be able to help Chris, he’s done so much for so many people over the years,” Vaughan said.
Gem is the mother is his own dog, so there was a family connection for him personally, which made it all the more rewarding, he said.
Peterson’s partner Di Batchelor is Gem’s main caregiver and she was immensely relieved to hear on her return from an overseas trip that the tale of the dog in the bush had a happy ending.
After some rest and recuperation Gem was back to her old happy self in the weekend.
Peterson said it was a real team effort getting the old dog back to the base camp and he couldn’t have done it without the help of half a dozen trampers and friends.
“The dogs are our family and we were really chuffed to get her out,” he says.
Gem in transit.
By: PIERS FULLER and photographer.