"Dead pig, belly up" staffy just a "mudlark"
SHE might be old, but she certainly wasn't dead - that's what the owner of a now-famous Esk staffy thought when she saw her dog in the paper.
Images of Tika playing dead and then "reviving" were published in newspapers after the Somerest Regional Council launched a public appeal to find information about the intriguing snaps.
Council officers who received the images from an anonymous contributor thought they showed a near-dead staffy, muddy and bloated, "coming back to life" as it was hosed down.
Tika's owner, Vivien Macbeth, was surprised to find her dog the subject of such nationwide interest.
"I was in complete shock; I had no idea what was going on at first," Ms Macbeth said.
She said Tika was a mud-loving but very lively pooch, whose antics had been captured on camera by a close friend and SES volunteer.
"She did look like a dead pig, but I'm afraid that's just her normal behaviour," Ms Macbeth said.
"She loves water and loves rolling around in the mud and that's exactly what she was doing after the floods."
Ms Macbeth said Tika was still mischievous at the ripe old age of 14 years.
"She's had a few close encounters over the years including jumping out a moving car to chase 'roos, she's been run over and she's nearly drowned in a farm dam, but this time she was just doing what she loves, rolling around in mud," Ms Macbeth said.
Council flood recovery officer Jane Williamson said the dog had won the hearts of everyone involved in producing the flood recovery book.
"We wanted to include the photographs in the book, but had no idea who took the photos, (or) what the story was," she said.
"All we knew for sure is what we saw ... what appeared to be a lifeless dog, belly-up in the mud."
Because of the confusion, the council was swamped with phone calls and emails from people around Australia offering to give the dog a home.
Tika's photographers will be included in The Somerset Story flood recovery book. It will be launched at a public opening at Fernvale on Saturday, April 27.