“New Zealand is really not that big a place,” says Alan Funnell of the country he calls home—with his home specifically being on the South Island. It's the larger of New Zealand's two main islands, and it's one he and Louisa Andrew have spent 9 months searching for their two lost dogs. The Guardian reports the couple's black poodle Dice and fox terrier Weed were last seen in October, when they ran off from Andrew as she fed her chickens and didn't return. They've spent at least one weekend a month and more than $13,000 searching for the dogs, with the New Zealand Herald reporting they've made upwards of 350 signs.
And other New Zealanders are getting in on the quest—some 300 people have kicked in roughly $6,500 for the purchase of signs, with Andrew explaining on a page seeking donations that "we would like at least one sign of the dogs in every town in NZ." But the help hasn't turned the ordeal into an easy one. "We have suffered the fatigue that comes with three or four hours of sleep a night," wrote Andrew in a Facebook post. She and Funnell believe someone picked up the dogs and that they are still alive. "We have forgiven them for still having our dogs now," she writes. "We have no animosity toward them. ... When I think about Dice and Weed now, I don't feel pain. I feel an overwhelming wave of love. I believe that wave will carry them home." (Read more lost dog stories.)