Finding Burrito: Couple Camping in Botanic Gardens Looking for Poodle

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The 3-year-old microchipped poodle was playing with another dog in the off-leash area of ​​the Manurewa Botanical Gardens when he went missing.
Photo: Delivered

An Auckland couple have camped in the Botanic Gardens after the mysterious disappearance of their beloved dog a week ago.

Burrito, the brown poodle, went missing on a walk, and although there have been some sightings, he has been captured so far.

His social media following is so great that news of his disappearance has gone viral, prompting dog owners across the city to join the search.

Burrito’s owner Grace said last Thursday night’s dog walk was like any other.

The three-year-old microchipped poodle began playing with another dog in the off-leash area of ​​the Manurewa Botanical Gardens.

“They just went around these bushes and I said to the other dog owner, ‘It’s okay, my dog ​​will come back, because Burrito always comes back when he doesn’t see me.’

“After 30 seconds, the other dog came back to its owner, but Burrito never came back.”

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Grace and her husband Isaac Layola had burrito for three years. He has his own Instagram account with almost 3000 followers.

“He is our everything. We have no human child. He is our fur baby. He is our child.

“I’m pretty sure all dog owners will feel the same. He’s a family member. He’s not just any dog ​​or a pet, but he’s our kid.”

Grace says they've had Burrito the poodle for three years and he meant the world to them.

Grace says Burrito meant the world to them.
Photo: RNZ / Leonard Powell

In the main car park at the top of the Botanic Gardens, RNZ met Sheree and Maryanne – just two of the dozen dog owners who came to look for Burrito every day.

“Our hearts go out to the people who have lost their dogs,” Sheree said.

“We have two shih-tzus and we know that if we lose our shih-tzus, we would like to get them back,” Maryanne said.

While there have been some sightings of Burrito in neighboring Totara Park and surrounding streets, he has so far evaded capture.

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“I really hope they find Burrito because if I have a dog of my own I can’t imagine how they would feel if they lost their little fur baby,” said one woman walking her dog.

Many people park on Everglade Drive and stroll the grounds with their dogs.

Sheree and Maryanne said people were walking their own dogs and looking for Burrito at the same time.

“We’ve seen on Facebook quite a few people supporting them, looking out for them and going for walks at night and looking out for Burrito.”

While there have been some sightings of Burrito, he has so far evaded capture.

While there have been some sightings of Burrito, he has so far evaded capture.
Photo: RNZ / Leonard Powell

Grace said they had announced a $2,500 reward in case Burrito was stolen.

She and her husband have now camped in the gardens and have said goodbye to their work, hoping that Burrito will return at night.

“We don’t expect anything, but all the people will just call and text me and say ‘Do you need anything? Do you need food? How else can we help you?’

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“We’re just so blessed. Sometimes you want to give up, but I never thought of giving up.’

Another local dog walker said the canine community was shocked at the situation.

“I feel so bad for the family because dogs are just part of your family. Without your dog at home you would be totally robbed. I really feel for them.

“I hope Burrito comes home, and I keep manifesting that at some point he’ll just walk out of that bush and just come home to his mom and dad.”

Grace and Isaac said they would stay in the park for now.

“As we’ve posted on social media, Burrito is wearing a blue-orange and light-blue striped suit and armor, and he’s still labeled with his name and our phone numbers,” Grace said.

“He’s a brown toy poodle, he’s small, he’s a really fluffy boy, and he can run really fast.”

Anyone willing to help can find details on Burrito’s Instagram page.

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