ALMOST a month has passed since fire consumed Durrol House, an 117-year-old hill station on Mount Macedon.
But the hope of finding a loyal 15-year-old dog missing since the blaze lives on.
Efforts to reunite Sienna, the chocolate brown Lagotto Romagnolo poodle, with her 96-year-old owner Karin Mackinnon have been ongoing since their home was destroyed on July 11.
“It’s just snowballed, really” one of Mrs Mackinnon’s former carers, Wendy Wright, said.
She said about 50 people were out looking for the Durrol House owner’s dog at the weekend, after a number of sightings.
Sienna was most recently believed to have been seen last week at Woodend, near Walkers Road, according to Wendy.
She said tracking dogs last picked up Sienna’s scent on Saturday at Middle Gully Road in Macedon.
Those leading the search are hopeful Sienna has found a way to cross the railway line and the Calder Freeway and is headed home.
“Nobody’s seen her on this side of the railway track,” Wendy said.
She said Sienna would arrive home to find a kennel, containing an item of Mrs Mackinnon’s, and a bowl of food.
A gardener regularly visits the property and would be able to let the family know the dog had returned.
Wendy said one of Mrs Mackinnon’s sons, Andrew, was out searching for the dog when the Bendigo Advertiser called.
“I’m convinced we’ll find her,” she said.
Wendy and another of Mrs Mackinnon’s carers were among the first people to start searching for the dog.
They were joined by a woman from Newham, who had a dog that was being trained in tracking.
Wendy said the woman and her dog had been tireless in the search for Sienna.
Food had been left out to sustain the domesticated pooch, including a specially made mixture containing corn kernels.
Wendy had hoped the food might lead them to Sienna, as she understood the kernels would pass through dogs’ digestive systems intact.
“The community spirit has just been amazing,” she said.
Sienna’s story has travelled, prompting offers of help from far and wide.
Wendy was grateful for people’s generosity and hopeful it would continue. She was especially keen to hear from anyone with tracking dogs that might be able to assist in the search.
She also urged Bendigo Advertiser readers to keep an eye out for Sienna.
“If they do see her, they shouldn’t approach her,” Wendy said.
She said dog psychologists were concerned Sienna might be so traumatised she would take flight again if confronted.
Wendy suggested people should call her if they believed they had seen the dog.
Her affection for Mrs Mackinnon and the family has propelled her in the search for Sienna.
“I’ve been working for her for two years. She’s just the most wonderful woman,” Wendy said.
She said Mrs Mackinnon was sorely missing Sienna, who had been her constant companion.
“She said Wendy, please find my dog,” Wendy recalled of a recent visit.
Wendy can be reached on 0419 441 993.
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