Eight-year-old Kali the kelpie is new to Yamba and she hadn’t ventured outside of her home near Main Beach very often, except on a lead, and never to Main Beach.
Unbeknown to her master, Veda Dante, Kali couldn’t resist taking advantage of an open gate.
“I’ve just moved into Yamba and some friends were over,” says Vida. “They hadn’t closed the gate properly and I didn’t notice it.
“I got a call 20 minutes later, ‘Are you the owner of Kali? We have her.’
“I had no idea she’d gone anywhere, so I was out of the door straight away. We come from a 77 acre property, so she’s not very streetwise.
“They said we’ll meet you at the top of Main Beach [near the road entry], so I pretty much ran down there in two minutes – there was a group of kids running around and Kali was with them.”
One of the children, 10-year-old Patrick McKeown, tells the story: “We were playing on the grassy area in front of our units [Craigmore] and there are stairs leading down to the rocks [at Main Beach].
“We found her there and she was howling.”
It seems Kali decided she was one of the gang and went with the children, who suspected she was lost.
“When we took her to the front door of one of our friend’s units, she just stood there with us,” says Patrick.
“We saw the name tag and we found out she was lost.”
Patrick thinks Kali “was a bit worried, but I think she knew it was a good thing that we were doing for her”.
Veda says that when she thanked one of the children’s mothers, she replied, ‘It was actually the kids.’
“Kali had gone down to the rocks, it was quite windy and rainy; they noticed her because they were playing out the front,” says Veda. “They felt ‘on top of the world’, I heard a couple of them say.
“Kali’s very unfamiliar with the area … there’re no familiar smells, luckily she had a collar on [with ID and contact details].
“I was really impressed with the young kids, who had been holidaying in Yamba for two weeks.
“The kids were so chuffed – I’m going back this afternoon with ice cream to thank them and to remind them to keep doing good things like that.”
Patrick’s mother, Amy, says she was “a little surprised when they turned up with a dog out of nowhere. [But] they were quite responsible, although I do encourage my children not to touch stray dogs.
“I think she [Kali] was very friendly and followed them initially, so they didn’t have to man handle her.”