Shannon Cooper came home on January 31 to find her lock picked, strange footprints in her backyard and her 70kg neapolitan mastiff Maggie missing.
The family made a police report, spoke to local business owners and phoned breeders, pounds and shelters as well as the Comment News, which ran the story in print, online and on Facebook.
Ms Cooper, who has a marketing degree, said she built Maggie a ‘brand’ by creating a Facebook page and hashtags that took on a life of their own, being shared thousands of times and seen by more than 150,000 people across Australia.
She posted flyers around the neighbourhood and the calls flooded in.
Ms Cooper followed up 300 leads and visited more than 150 dogs and had lost hope by the time the phone rang on Monday, February 17.
‘I didn’t believe she was coming home, but I didn’t want to give up,’ Ms Cooper said.
The caller had seen a dog at the Gosnells house she had just moved into.
When viewing the home a week before, she thought the dog was awaiting pickup by old tenants but now realised it was abandoned.
Having seen the flyers and Facebook posts she called Ms Cooper, who went straight over.
‘(Maggie) was hiding in creepers behind the shed, so I couldn’t tell if it was her,’ Ms Cooper said.
‘I walked away, just to go around the other side to get a closer look, but she must have thought I was leaving because she came running out.
‘She dropped on her back and I dropped on my knees and I just cried.
‘I couldn’t believe that after all the disappointments, it was actually her.’
Maggie had lost 17kg and was severely dehydrated.
She spent the next 48 hours at the vet, where Ms Cooper was told another two days without food or water would have killed her.
‘She had been starved for over a week and she was very frightened of people,’ Ms Cooper said.
‘But a night at home did her a world of good.’
The public helped raise nearly $3000 to help cover the vet bills. The family is hosting a barbecue at Pioneer Park in Gosnells at 1pm on March 2 to thank the community and show Maggie off.
Get involved at www.facebook.com/helpfindmaggieperth.