Benny the dog found alive after nine days in the wilderness. 1000 searchers and a rescue helicopter were involved.

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If Benny the beagle could talk he would have a great story to tell, it could even make a great Walt Disney movie.
On Sunday evening, he was miraculously found alive having spent nine days stuck above a waterfall in rugged terrain in the Belmont Regional Park, north of Wellington.
After going missing during a pack walk on April 6, Benny survived without any food and endured a freezing storm that brought snow and tornados to parts of the lower North Island last week.
Benny went missing in the Belmont Regional Park on April 6. He was found alive nine days later, attached to a log by his ...
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Benny went missing in the Belmont Regional Park on April 6. He was found alive nine days later, attached to a log by his lead.
Despite only being a few hundred metres from where he went missing, he somehow escaped the attention of 1000 searchers and a helicopter with specialist thermal imaging gear. 
Owners Matt and Grace Newman-Hall set up a social media page to keep people informed on how the search was going.
Benny's owners Matt and Grace Newman-Hall launched an extensive search of the Belmont Regional Park, backed by some 50 ...
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Benny's owners Matt and Grace Newman-Hall launched an extensive search of the Belmont Regional Park, backed by some 50 volunteers and thermal imaging technology.
Matt Newman-Hall said Benny was in surprisingly good shape. A timid dog, he did not even bark when rescuers eventually found him cold and hungry.
Buoyed by stories of dogs being lost for months and turning up unexpectedly, Newman-Hall said he had never given up hope of finding Benny.
"There were 70 to 100 people out looking for him [on Sunday] so we were feeling very confident that someone would find him, and it was only half an hour after we got home that we got the call."
But even after he was discovered in the Belmont Regional Park, the adventure was not over for Benny.
His rescuers had to scale a waterfall and rock wall to follow a stream. They found Benny attached to a log by his lead. In fading light, they sent out a message that they might struggle to get down.
Matt Newman-Hall alerted the park ranger and the SPCA animal rescue team, but after three hours his rescuers emerged with Benny happily trotting alongside them.
Benny The lost beagle had his own social media page.
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Benny The lost beagle had his own social media page.
Benny was taken to the emergency vet, who said he had lost weight but was otherwise in good shape.
Grace Newman-Hall said she was indebted to the people who found him.
"We can't express how thankful we are."
Buoyed by stories of dogs being lost for months and turning up unexpectedly, Benny's owners never gave up hope of ...
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Buoyed by stories of dogs being lost for months and turning up unexpectedly, Benny's owners never gave up hope of finding him safe and well.
After they got home and had some cuddles, Benny then enjoyed a long sleep. He spent the night snuggled up between his happy owners.
The Newman-Halls had been advised to keep him quiet for a few days and slowly reintroduce him to food.
Matt Newman-Hall estimated that in the nine days Benny was missing, 1000 people had helped with the search.
Missing beagle Benny, right, with his friend Spike, who has helped with the search.
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Missing beagle Benny, right, with his friend Spike, who has helped with the search.
"The search has been expensive and extensive."
The helicopter was paid for by insurance and he said they will forever be grateful for all the help they received.
One of the searchers came down from Whanganui and spent nine days covering the rugged park.
They plan to organise a community barbecue so all the helpers can meet Benny and repay the kindness they had received.
A MetService spokesperson said that temperatures last Thursday fell to an overnight low of 2.5 celsius. With snow on the nearby Tararaus, the wind chill would have made it feel much colder.
Wairarapa beagle breeder Chelsea Macklin said Benny did well to survive in the cold. Having access to a stream was probably the key to his survival.
"Beagles are small dogs but they are quite a tough dog. They are pretty resilient and can cope with a lot."
When in trouble beagles seek cover or burrow and she would not be surprised if Benny had done that.
As long as he had access to water, the lack of food would not have been a  big problem.
Hutt City Council animal control officer Les Dalton said dogs could survive a surprisingly long time without food. 
Although it was cold last week, he said he would expect a well fed beagle to be okay.
He had lost farm dogs down rabbit holes and they eventually returned home, he said.
"They finally dig themselves out after 10 days and come home very skinny."

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