A huge reward has been offered for a famous dog that sleeps in a fridge and demands ice from the bar, after helicopter searches failed to find him.
Oi, a husky, went missing from Threeways Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway, 472 kilometres north of Alice Springs, on April 9.
Registered owner Anne Steinbach has a $3500 reward for whoever has the dog or information about the missing husky.
The cute microchipped dog is famous for its antics, such as barking for ice at the bar, and chilling out at the bottom of the bar fridge at the roadhouse at the intersection of Barkley and Stuart Highways.
“We have stubby coolers and bar mats with his face on them,” Ms Steinbach said.
“People take photos of him at the bar barking for ice cubes.
“This dog is an NT and Aussie icon.”
Land and air search
Ms Steinbach, a Berliner, returned from a delivery to discover Oi gone.
The surrounding Phillip Creek cattle station sent a helicopter looking for him after foot searches failed.
“For me it’s like someone stole my child,” she said.
“He’s my partner.
“Every truckie asks me where the dog is. Travellers know him.
“This dog is special to this place.”
Where could he be?
COVID-19 biosecurity restrictions have made the search even harder.
Ms Steinbach has her suspicions and has filed a report with nearby Tennant Creek police, 24 kilometres south, including security footage of what appears to be Oi in the back of a sedan, possibly a grey early-model Holden Commodore.
An NT Police spokesperson said: “Police have made inquiries regarding a vehicle of interest and patrolled several locations”.
“Unfortunately attempts to locate the dog have been unsuccessful.”
Why is he called Oi?
“We couldn’t agree on a name. In the meantime we had to call him something,” she said.
Travellers on social media were devastated to hear of Oi’s disappearance.
“My family and I came through Threeways in October and we remember him! He is the sweetest boy and got many pats. We hope you find him soon.” – Rhiannon
“I remember Oi from 2018 … wish I was in OZ just now because I’d help look.” – Dan
“He actually slept on my niece’s swag with her. We loved the name.” – Kate
Roadhouses have remained open during the COVID-19 crisis.
Anyone with information can call police on 131 444.