7 min read

Dog Decides To Hitchhike Across Australia All By Himself

His family had no idea ...

Australia is an awfully big continent, but one little dog is doing his best to explore it — all on his own.

Rusty the Australian terrier
Laura Scudamore

Earlier this month, an Australian terrier named Rusty took the road trip of a lifetime, hitching a ride with a truck driver from his home in Goondiwindi, Queensland to South Australia — a journey of over 1,500 kilometers (more than 930 miles).

The 3-and-a-half-year-old pup usually spends his days on his family’s property, romping around with his two Border collie buddies. His thrill-seeking spirit often inspires Rusty to explore outside those boundaries.

“Rusty and the work dogs will sometimes disappear around the property looking for adventure,” Laura Scudamore, Rusty’s owner, told The Dodo. “They will also sometimes find themselves on the nearby highway having a stickybeak [being nosy].”

Rusty the Australian terrier rides a horse
Laura Scudamore

When Rusty’s family is away, however, and he’s under the care of his in-laws, who own the property, his curiosity can get Rusty into hot water.

A year and a half ago, Rusty first evaded his caretakers and ran to the highway where he caught a lift to Chinchilla, two and a half hours north of Goondiwindi. His cuddly nature endeared him to a local family, who took him in for the weekend.

But just one road trip wasn’t enough for Rusty.

Rusty the dog in a car
Laura Scudamore

When his family went on a beach vacation in early January, he decided it was time to take advantage of his freedom once more and do some sightseeing.

“While we were away, Rusty took himself up to the highway. He tends to do this more when we are away and he’s looking for some action,” Scudamore said. “It seems that Rusty decided to catch a ride with a [truck driver] who had pulled up for a rest.” Rusty stowed away under the cabin of the truck, snuggling up against the wheel bed, where he remained unnoticed for the duration of the drive.

After days of tireless searching and worrying, Scudamore’s in-laws received a phone call — this time from a woman named Heather in Snowtown, South Australia.

Rusty the dog with Heather in Snowtown, Australia
Laura Scudamore

“Rusty had traveled the whole way with [Heather’s] husband in his truck. Thankfully, we had a collar on him with a phone number to call,” Scudamore explained. “Our next challenge was to find a way for Rusty to make the long journey home."

Confronted with a 17-hour drive, Rusty’s family researched pet courier services, quickly realizing that getting their plucky terrier home was going to be quite expensive.

That’s when inspiration struck.

“I decided to put a message on my Facebook just in case my friends knew of anyone who might be doing the trip, or part of the trip in the near future.” To Scudamore’s great surprise, her post about Rusty’s remarkable journey went viral. “We never anticipated the attention and interest it has received,” Scudamore said. “We were so overwhelmed by offers of help to get him home and are very grateful to everyone who has tried to help.”

Rusty returns to Queensland, Australia
Laura Scudamore

Rusty was offered a complimentary, door-to-door, return trip by a pet courier company named Jetpets, and after a week and a half of pampering and attention by Heather and her family in Snowtown, Rusty finally flew home.

Rusty the Australian terrier home with the Scudamores
Laura Scudamore

Upon seeing Rusty again, his family could no longer be mad over his escapade and celebrated his safe arrival. Rusty even got to be the guest of honor at Scudamore’s daughter’s school.

Rusty the dog at school
Laura Scudamore

Now settling back into his quiet life at home, Rusty is already plotting his next adventure.

Rusty the dog getting pets and meeting fans
Laura Scudamore

“Rusty is home now and starting to wonder where all his attention has gone,” Scudamore added. “Our main concern now is how we’re going to cater for Rusty’s newfound fame and his expectations around pampering and attention. We’re also wondering how we’ll stop him from taking another adventure!”