News and Media

Mike Larkan’s Give a Dog a Home helps reunite family with lost dog

May 26, 2013
Mike Larkin and lost dog

Two weeks ago, the Wicks family were stunned when fate intervened in a most unusual way. While watching Mike Larkan’s Give a Dog A Home  segment on the Channel 10 News, Jo, her husband and two children could not believe their eyes when the dog featured looked uncannily like their beloved whippet, Flash, who had been missing for nine long months.

“It was one of those things that, if one moment was different, it wouldn’t have ever happened.

“The kids were inside, which was unusual for a Friday afternoon. I was on the phone with my mother-in-law, who all of a sudden told me to switch on the television to the Channel 10 News. I just remember all of us looking at each other and saying, ‘Oh, he does look like Flash!’ And then my husband had a look and he confidently said, ‘That’s him!’”

Jo quickly got out the family albums to make sure Flash was indeed the pooch on the box. “We got out all our old photos of him and paid attention to his markings and the colour of his toe nails, and everything matched. We grew even more confident that this gorgeous dog was him!”

Flash disappeared leaving no trace behind during his daily run last year.

“He was just a year old when my husband took him for a run with my son one afternoon. He ran into some bushes and didn’t come out the other side!”

Jo said the family had “pulled out all stops” to find him, contacting their council, local vet and visiting The Lost Dogs’ Home and other shelters. However, since Flash was neither microchipped, nor wearing an identification tag, the search to find him became near to impossible.

Found around 35 kilometres from his home and brought to The Lost Dogs’ Home, Flash was held for the mandatory eight-day holding period before being featured on the Give A Dog A Home segment.

Jo concedes that after not hearing about her Flash for several months, she had lost all hope that he would be found. “Because of the time that had passed, we had given up looking and hadn’t contacted the shelter.”

There was plenty of interest for Flash on Facebook and enquiries following Mike Larkan’s segment. Understanding the immediacy of the situation, Jo and her family got in the car the following morning and headed to the shelter as soon as it opened.

“I had made a file of all the photos we had of him since the day that we got him. We took those in with us, to be extra certain he was our dog.

“He was lying on his mat at the back corner and as soon as he saw us, he ran up and stood up on the fence. We knew it was him straight away, particularly when we had to go back to the shelter reception and he started howling the way he used to when my husband would leave home for work.”

Now, a fortnight on, the Wicks family is counting their lucky stars that their beloved whippet is now home and settling in well.

“From the moment he went in the back gate, he went straight to grab a ball from where they are kept and ran around his usual route in the backyard.”

Desperately trying to piece together what happened during the nine months he was missing, Jo suspects that Flash may have spent some time on his own and could have been found and cared for by someone who didn’t realise he was a beloved pet.

Now having experienced firsthand the heartbreak of losing Flash and not being able to find him through identification, Jo urges all pet owners to identify their pets with a microchip and tag, and to always keep their contact details updated.

“If you love your pets, do whatever you can to make sure they can be returned to you.”

Microchipping and identifying your pet is their ticket home

Identifying your pet with a microchip and ensuring your contact details are up-to-date is the best way to secure your pet’s ticket home. Using an ID tag on their collar is also extremely advisable.

Give a dog a home - reunite story

National Pet Register provides an Australia-wide pet identification and recovery service. Find out how you can get a free identification tag or discounted microchip by logging on to

Lost or found a pet?

Please read  if you have lost or found a cat or dog.