THERE was a collective sigh of relief in households throughout Mount Martha when news broke that “Paddy has been found”.
Paddy, a golden retriever, had gone missing the same afternoon that his owner became disoriented while out for one of their regular walks.
Geoff Spinks, 86, was “lost” for about five hours and reunited with family and friends about 10pm on that cold and wintry Sunday night in early August.
As soon as Geoff was made comfortable at home the searchers’ focus swung around to the missing Paddy, a dog that rarely leaves his master’s side.
Staying connected through the Mt Martha Community Grapevine Facebook page, searchers combed the area for eight-year-old Paddy.
“We shared where people were searching and tips and tricks to help when a dog is missing,” Andy Quin said. “I was out walking and searching nonstop and everyone I walked past knew the story and were also keeping an eye out for him.”
Three days later a seemingly unaffected Paddy was found by two workers after a freezing night at The Briars historic property, off Nepean Highway. Trained as a companion for children with disabilities, Paddy does not bark to attract attention.
Sandra Spinks said her husband and Paddy walked together several times a day and it was still a mystery how they became separated.
She had been “overwhelmed” by the response and concern of Mount Martha people when they heard about the pair’s disappearance.
“People went out with torches and their dogs looking for them in the cold. It just snowballed,” she said.
Paddy was not dishevelled, wet or muddy when found at The Briars “and we don’t know how he got there or entered the property”.
Eager to show their appreciation for Paddy’s return the Spinks used the online grapevine (of course) to invite the Mount Martha community to a reunion and celebration at the Balcombe Estuary park one week after the pair went missing.