The great Houdini is not just talented at escaping, he is also good at making friends.
New Moeraki resident Karen Edwards’ dog Delo has made a name for himself in the seaside township.
Ms Edwards said he was an escape artist, and had been getting out several times a day.
Having gained somewhat of a reputation, locals had taken to calling him “Houdini”, and Ms Edwards’ cellphone number was in everybody’s phone.
Ms Edwards moved to Moeraki from Dunedin in March after her son left home to study.
Having always wanted to live by the sea, the coastal North Otago town was the perfect place.
But settling in to her new community was not smooth sailing at the start.
It was her first time living on her own, she did not know anyone in town, and was going through a divorce. She had also left her job as an accountant at an international company.
Things came to a head in April when she experienced a health emergency.
Brought on by “extreme stress”, Ms Edwards was helicoptered out of Moeraki to hospital.
As she recovered, the people of Moeraki rallied behind her.
“If it wasn’t for the people of this town I would not have made it,” she said.
She had gone from not knowing anyone, to being surrounded by friends, with whom she now regularly spends time at the Moeraki Tavern.
“The women say they are going to find me a lumberjack.”
The Moeraki community looked out for her and always offered a helping hand – going as far as helping connect her washing machine.
Local farmers Doug Stalker, Brian Carlyon and Mark Brady gathered a group of men to help build a new fence to keep Delo from getting into more trouble.
As a self-described “girly girl”, she was eternally grateful for everyone’s support.
Ms Edwards had lived all over the world – from Toronto and Australia to Singapore, where she was born.
But those places had nothing compared with what the people of Moeraki had given her, she said.
“People in this town deserve some praise. I would like too say thank you to them, a big thank you.”