After a week alone in remote Kimberley, social media helps reunite lost dog with frenzied owner

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Len Simpson searched for his best friend over three miles a day in the heat of the Kimberley outback.

He searched the thick bushes and shrubs, over snake pits and kangaroo dung, for any sign of his beloved dog, Jack.

After seven days, Mr. Simpson was about to give up and go home.

The two had started their journey together, coming from Tasmania, and were camping near the Great Northern Highway, 195 km south of Broome.

Jack was usually let out overnight for a wash break, but he always came back to camp.

Len Simpson and Jack were traveling together before the dog disappeared. (

ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne

)

“When he didn’t come back, I thought, ‘He just went for a walk around a bit,’” Mr. Simpson said.

the Bush
Len Simpson has spent seven days searching through miles of bush like this one for his beloved dog, Jack. (

ABC Kimberley: Ben Collins

)

After the first day, Mr. Simpson no longer saw Jack’s footsteps.

So he used his old school compass to travel over 3 miles each day in a new direction, meticulously searching the sand for Jack’s tracks.

He texted his daughter, Kate, to Victoria to let her know that Jack was missing.

This was the start of a post about a missing dog that went viral and was shared on online billboards in the Kimberley and Pilbara areas.

Traveling good samaritan

Avid traveler Jolina Latusek was on her way from Port Hedland to Broome when she saw Kate’s post about the missing dog on Facebook.

During the week, Ms. Latusek helped with research, printing flyers at the local library and placing them along the highway.

woman wearing dark, plaid sleeveless dress smiling at camera with sunglasses on head
Jolina Latusek was on a three-hour drive to put up posters of the missing dog when she heard the good news (

ABC Kimberley: Hinako Shiraishi

)

She also supported Mr. Simpson while he was in the bush so that he could continue his research on the ground.

“Out of her own pocket, she was constantly refusing money,” Ms. Simpson said.

Ms. Latusek said she just wanted to help.

“I didn’t know Len Simpson, or Jack, or anyone, but I could imagine how he felt in this situation and I think if I ever needed help, I would like other people to ask me. ‘help too,’ she said.

two people kissing, she is wearing a dark plaid sleeveless dress and he is wearing a pale blue shirt and Akubra hat
Jolina Latusek says she was happy to help Len Simpson in his search to find Jack.(

ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne

)

She was halfway through a three-hour drive from Broome to Sandfire Roadhouse, just to post more leaflets on the missing dogs, when she received good news from Ms Simpson.

Jack had been found near the local indigenous community, Bidyadanga, after being seen next to a dump by a couple who recognized him, thanks to Ms Simpson’s various social media posts.

Good news

a dusty black dog who looks bad sitting in the back seat of a car with a blue towel under him and a bucket in front
Jack was found near the Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga, nearly 200 km south of Broome. (

Provided: Jolina Latusek

)

Ms Latusek said earlier in the morning Mr Simpson’s daughter texted her that Jack had been found when she was unable to reach her father.

“There isn’t a good phone signal there, so she couldn’t reach him,” she said.

So Ms. Latusek headed for Bidyadanga.

After picking up Jack, Ms Latusek headed to the nearest vets in Broome, who were surprised the dog was alive after seven days in the bush without food or water.

Vets, including Dr Chiquita Minshull, were very concerned that Jack could have heatstroke, been bitten by a snake, or ingested poison 1080.

A blonde woman wearing lessons and a gray shirt examines a black dog while a brunette woman in a dark dress watches
Having been collected by Jolina Latusek (right), Jack was examined closely by Broome’s veterinarian, Dr Chiquita Minshull.(

ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne

)

“Fortunately, during the physical evaluation of him, we found that he was fine,” said Dr. Minshull.

A week into his search, after another five-hour search for Jack, Mr Simpson came back to a note placed on his car by Ms Latusek, letting him know that she had dropped Jack off at Broome’s vet.

As for the happy owner, he was shocked.

For Jack and his owner, their journey through the Western Australia region is not yet over as they prepare to travel to the southern part of the state.

old black dog, white notes on his nose and ruff, smiling at camera
Jack was reunited with his owner, Len Simpson, in Broome after wandering the Kimberley outback for seven days.(

ABC Kimberley: Hinako Shiraishi

)


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