When Napier Police Acting Sergeant Ben Dalton was out on routine patrol in Napier South on Tuesday morning, he came across a man running down the street looking distressed and knew something was up.
Although, as he discovered, it was more a case that something had disappeared.
Namely Luka, a 9-month-old border collie/retriever cross family pet, adored by Tim O'Sullivan and partner Jess and their five children, had been struck by a car and had run off.
Acting Sergeant Dalton said he had been driving down Vigor Brown St just after 7.30am after attending a routine inquiry when he spotted Mr O'Sullivan.
"He was running down the road and looked panicky, so I spun round to see what was going on. He said his puppy had been hit by a car and run off somewhere - he was trying to find it so I said, 'Jump in, we'll look for him."'
Mr O'Sullivan said he had walked up the driveway from his back-section home in nearby George's Drive to put the rubbish bags out and had taken little Luka with him.
"He's pretty good, but he spotted some ducks over at the creek and bolted - he was gone so I took off after him."
He watched in horror as a passing motorist, who had no chance of avoiding the excited puppy, drove into Luka, sending him tumbling and squealing.
"It was a big impact and I knew he'd be hurt but he just ran off in shock."
Mr O'Sullivan chased Luka into nearby Campaign St where he came across a man who had seen a small, black bolting dog and said it had run into Vigor Brown St.
There he came across a woman who had also seen Luka, although she had lost sight of him.
"That's when I saw Ben."
Acting Sergeant Dalton put a call out as he was aware there was another car close by, and they too drove through the immediate area looking for the frightened pup.
There was no sign of him, so a call was put through to the watch-house asking if anyone had reported coming across an injured pup, or if he had been taken to a vet.
It was a third police car, also passing through the area, which had picked up the call and eventually spotted the limping Luka about three hours after he first went missing.
"They grabbed him and got him to the vet," Mr O'Sullivan said, adding he was still out searching at the time.
Acting Sergeant Dalton called Mr O'Sullivan's partner Jess to say "we've found him" and she called him with the good news.
"I was really worried. Two of the kids were home at the time it had happened and they were so upset. To get Luka back was just great. Ben and the rest of the police were so good," he said.
"And the animal control guys too, because they heard about it and they were out looking as well."
Luka had bruising and several cuts requiring stitches, as well as a bleed on one lung, but two days later was back home.
"It was a good result. To see the kids so happy to have their pet back - that was really good. A lot of us have pets too and we wanted to help," Acting Sergeant Dalton said.
"The police were just great and we had to say thanks - Jess dropped off some boxes of chocolates for them," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Luka was less vocal but nonetheless grateful when the police popped by on Thursday evening to see how he was getting on.
An excited "woof" pretty well said it all.