Meg helped her owner to walk again, she was lost in the hills for five weeks, and she has inspired others to be active – and now her story is retold in a new children’s book.
Written and illustrated by St Clair author Rachel McCoubrey, Remarkable Meg was launched at a function at the Regent Theatre on Tuesday night, attended by about 80 people.
It has been 18 months since the 8-year-old huntaway-Labrador cross was found, on March 5, 2018, five weeks after going missing in the hills around Purakaunui.
Suffering badly injured front legs in a previous car accident, Meg was the subject of an intensive search by hundreds of volunteers, including Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) experts, to the gratitude of her owners Andy and Alison Cunningham.
Many of those volunteers attended Tuesday’s launch, including LandSAR volunteer Richard Warrington who, along with Sonia Evers, led the search for about two weeks.
“We used many of the same tactics we use in searching for people, and we were ecstatic when she was found,” Mr Warrington said.
Meg was treated by the Wildlife Hospital Dunedin veterinary team before being transferred to her usual vet.
Despite disability, she continues to thrive, and her activities inspire more than 2000 followers through “Meg’s Page” on Facebook.
Mr Cunningham, who credits Meg with helping him to get back on his feet after a spinal injury in 2012 left him temporarily paralysed, said the pair had “three good legs between us”.
“Regardless, we go out and do multiple walks every day, which hopefully helps to inspire others,” he said.
“Everywhere we go, people stop us and say hello to Meg, which is just lovely.
“Meg loves people, and a lot of people love her, so sharing her story even wider seemed like a nice thing to do.”
Working on the book had been a “fun and rewarding journey”, and he hoped it helped to make people happy.
Author Rachel McCoubrey said Meg’s incredible survival, and her exploits since with Andy and Alison Cunningham, had captured the hearts of the community.
McCoubrey, who bases her children’s stories on real-life events, was delighted when Mr Cunningham approached her to write Meg’s story.
“It’s such an inspiring story, and one which many people will relate to,” she said.
“I love the story, because it is one of hope.
“Meg is such a gorgeous, lovely-natured dog to work with.”
For every book sold, $1 will be donated to each of LandSAR Dunedin and The Wildlife Hospital Dunedin.