The collar worn by Pilbara canine Red Dog, long thought to have been lost, has turned up in the safe at the Karratha Vet Hospital.
The discovery was made in June by staff and the collar has been transported to Perth to be mounted and displayed.
Long-time Pilbara vet Rick Fenny, who spent a number of years caring for Red Dog, said it was an excellent surprise to have the collar turn up.
“I thought it had gone missing,” he said. “I did have it in my house in Roebourne for a number of years but when I went to find it when the film was all happening I couldn’t.
“It turned out someone must have put it in the safe at the Karratha Vet Hospital for safe keeping.”
Dr Fenny, who is now based in Perth, said the collar had been engraved with Red Dog’s name and the phrase “I’ve been everywhere man”.
“It’s a good result because it’s a pretty valuable little thing and we are going to get it mounted into a glass case to display it properly,” he said.
“When the movie came out we couldn’t find the original collar so we made something up pretty similar to it but this is the real thing.”
Dr Fenny said it was a pretty nostalgic moment when he took the collar to producer Nelson Woss and put it around the star of the show, Koko.
“It was the first time the collar had been on another dog, it was a 33-year gap between it being around the real Red Dog and the actor,” he said.
Dr Fenny was writing a book on his time with the wandering canine to be called Red Dog Vet.
“I looked after him as his vet for most of his life but I was also one of his benefactors, I was one of the people he would often drop in to see or he would hear my car and ask for a lift, there were a lot of people he did use like that,” he said.
Anyone with old pictures or stories about Red Dog can contact Dr Fenny by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0408 936 061.