Missing pooch Premo found

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 20, 2023 |


The Nelson dog tracker Don Schwass and his dog Piper have done it again, reuniting a much-loved missing pet with its family, after six weeks on the run.

Thirteen-year-old Premo went missing while being dog-sat in Sefton in early August.

It is the second case of a missing North Canterbury dog this year that has kept locals on the lookout for them, ending in a reunion.

Three-year-old border collie Ace was found by Schwass in June after being missing for 11 days following a fatal car crash on the Lewis Pass. Extensive searches were carried out for Ace, with Schwass updating followers on Nelson Search Dog/Tracking Page with incredible details of his plans to find him, including using a drone and thermal imaging.

Premo was found on Wednesday in Leithfield, which is about 10km from Sefton.

Schwass announced on his Facebook page this afternoon, “It is with a tear in the eye that I can tell the followers of this page .. PREMO has been FOUND !!!! Josh and Sarah and myself never backed off from bringing PREMO home and today we achieved it!”

“Welcome home PREMO ! Thankyou to the people of Leithfield and especially the land owners for giving us permission to be on their properties,” Schwass added.

Premo’s elated owner Josh Rufford told Chris Lynch Media, “My partner Sarah Facetimed me when she got back to the car, and then swung the camera onto Premo laying across the back seat. Was really awesome.”

Rufford added, “Premo got squeezed in at Vetlife Rangiora for a check up and a diet plan. She’s lost 8kgs. Then she got a quick scrub.”

“Don has been amazing. His experience allows for clear and concise instructions which followed and has allowed for the ultimate win in getting our dog back. We couldn’t of done this without him,” Rufford said.

Schwass joined the search for Premo after she had been missing for two weeks.

On the 22 August, Schwass told his Facebook followers, “Piper and myself have been on Premo’s tail for 24 hours … let’s best describe it as a game of cat and mouse at the moment … the mouse just seems to be one step ahead … a little frustrating but as I always say it’s a game of chess and hide and seek all in one…”

“We have certainly made progress .. and have a few strategies in place… Premo has been on the run for 2 weeks now .. and has certainly covered some ground in this time…and in this time gone from a couch potato to a well tuned dog in survival mode …Obviously watched some tv survival shows,” Schwass added.

The North Canterbury community gave many sighting tips to Premo’s owners on community Facebook pages.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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