Australia: Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash - - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaDog lost on the Birdsville track 200km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash

11:46  18 july  2019
11:46  18 july  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Friday, 19 July 2019 Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200 km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash | Sky New Zealand Pip the dog was found

Pip the dog was found wandering alone on the Birdsville Track , but a series of lucky breaks have led her to be reunited with her owner — more than 220km away.

Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Pip the dog is reunited with her owner Shannon Bell at the Birdsville Big Red Bash - thanks to a little help from the ABC. (ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris)

A series of chance meetings and lucky breaks at the world's most remote music festival have led to a dog, found wandering alone in the desert, being reunited with her owner — five days later.

Mal Mead was travelling in convoy across the desert from Innamincka to the Big Red Bash, 35 kilometres west of Birdsville in south-west Queensland, when he came across "the most amazing dog".

"We camped just out of Walker's Crossing and this dog appears from nowhere — like 220km from anywhere," he said.

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Big Red Bash organiser, Callum Boase, said many dogs donned the special socks for the first time at the festival. “It’s pretty funny watching them getting used to their socks — they do some funny things,” he said. K the kelpie spent four weeks on the road with her owners Ken and Keryn Lean to get to

Birdsville Big Red Bash event extensions are funded under the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program during the Year of Outback Tourism 2019. Thousands of people from around Australia, and the world, head into the desert for the most remote music festival on the planet. It all starts with the

"This dog just walks out of the dust and becomes our friend."

They named her Birdy, after Birdsville.

"She's very good natured, well looked after, and what she was doing out there in the desert I don't know," Mr Mead said.

Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash© ABC News Images Pip the dog was found wandering alone on the Birdsville Track, but a series of lucky breaks have led her to be reunited with her owner — more than 220km away.

After arriving at Bashville — the name of the 9,000-strong pop-up village that sprouts at the base of the Big Red sand dune each year ahead of the festival — Mr Mead bumped into ABC Radio producer Dan Prosser while walking Birdy to a yoga class on the dune at dawn.

He explained how Birdy had come to the Big Red Bash — and after Birdy's story went to air on the Drive program, word got back to her worried owner, Shannon Bell, who made tracks for the festival site.

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"It was a friend of mine who messaged me and heard the interview, and they said that the people had picked up a dog on the Birdsville Track, and it was the friendliest dog in Australia," she said.

"I was pretty certain that it was mine because I don't think many dogs get lost where she got lost on the Birdsville Track."

The Birdsville track is a 517km dirt road running through three deserts between Birdsville and Marree, a small town in South Australia.

Fell off the back of the ute

Birdy, whose real name is Pip, found herself alone on the track after falling off the back of a ute.

"I was out at camp on the property that I was working … we were out mustering and we were going to a different point to drop off some fuel for the helicopter," Ms Bell said.

"The car was really loaded and I'm guessing she'd just fallen asleep, because I was going really slow, and she must have just overbalanced and fallen off the side."

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Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200 km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash . abc.net.au - By Tessa Mapstone and Dan Prosser. A series of chance meetings and lucky breaks at the world's most remote music festival have led to a dog , found wandering alone in the desert, being …

Birdsville Big Red Bash event extensions are funded under the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program during the Year of Outback Tourism 2019. Big Red Bash is a unique high profile outback event, which draws significant media coverage.

Ms Bell went back searching for Pip that day, and again the following day in a helicopter.

Once she heard about the dog that had been found, Ms Bell got straight on the phone and Facebook Messenger to the ABC trying to find out if it was Pip.

"About four o'clock they sent a photo through asking if this was my dog and I pretty much did a backflip and said to my boss 'I'm going to town, I'll see ya later'," she said.

"And I jumped in the car and I left. I've travelled just over 200km."

'Like a needle in a haystack'

But Ms Bell's search didn't end when she made it to Bashville and found the ABC camp site.

Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash
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Ms Bell and Dan Prosser scoured the massive encampment searching for Mr Mead, calling, shouting and even whistling to Pip.

"It feels like finding a needle in a haystack," Ms Bell said before they gave up the search.

Just as she began to lose hope of finding Pip, Ms Bell's phone started "going bananas".

"The people that have Pip had sent me a message telling me exactly where they were and that they'd love to give her back to me," she said.

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Dog lost on the Birdsville track 200 km from anywhere reunited with owner at the Big Red Bash July 18, 2019. Pip the dog was found wandering alone on the Birdsville Track , but a series of lucky breaks have led her to be reunited with her owner more than 220km away.

Birdsville Big Red Bash event extensions are funded under the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program during the Year of Outback Tourism 2019. Big Red Bash is a unique high profile outback event, which draws significant media coverage.

It was an emotional reunion under the desert sky, and as Ms Bell and Pip cuddled, the man who had picked up the lost dog reflected on the series of lucky coincidences that brought Pip to safety.

"She fell off your ute and climbed into our team, and if I didn't meet you [Dan] doing yoga up on the sand dune … the amount of things that had to happen [for Pip to find her way home]," he said.

Australia's dog-friendly music festival

Pip's stay at the Big Red Bash had to come to an end.

She and Ms Bell headed back to the station to work, but the fun continues for an estimated 400 dogs currently staying at Bashville.

Organisers believe the Big Red Bash is the first multi-day Australian music festival that allows dogs to attend.

There are designated dog-friendly camping areas with special bins for dog waste, a dog exercise area, and even a dog-allocated concert area with its own entrance and a dog walkway connected to the dog campsite.

Dog lover Laurie Sharp, who travelled from Shellharbour in New South Wales with his Australian Terrier Maggie, said he loves the "free and easy" atmosphere for dogs.

But there are some safety issues to consider, and Maggie wears doggie booties to protect her paws against desert prickles.

Big Red Bash organiser, Callum Boase, said many dogs donned the special socks for the first time at the festival.

"It's pretty funny watching them getting used to their socks — they do some funny things," he said.

K the kelpie spent four weeks on the road with her owners Ken and Keryn Lean to get to Bashville.

A seasoned traveller, K and her family have been on site for two weeks volunteering ahead of the festival.

"K thinks she owns Big Red," Ms Lean said.

"It's brilliant that this is a dog-friendly festival, we brought one of our previous dogs over in 2017 and 2018.

"If the festivals and owners can control the dogs it'd be great to see more dog-friendly festivals.

"We'll be back again next year for sure — if they'll have us."

Spending four or five months a year on the road, K has learned certain ways to let her family know when she needs a loo break.

"She gest fidgety or sticks her wet nose in Ken's ear when driving … [but] she goes mostly when we go," Ms Lean said.

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