11 countries and one chopper rescue - it's a dog's life
SHELIA the Australian blue heeler is a pooch who has likely travelled further and had more adventures than the average Aussie.
The nine-year-old canine and her owner Mark "Huggy" Hughes have visited 11 countries and had ups and downs including being rescued by helicopter.
Mr Hughes said Shelia goes everywhere with him and when he decided to buy a yacht and sail from England to Australia she was right by his side.
"We were 30 miles south of Gran Canaria when we lost the mast," Mr Hughes said. "I steered for six hours, after that we than lost the radio and engine. The waves were 6ft, they almost rolled the boat."
Huggy said he was at sea for two days before being rescued.
At the time of the rescue Mr Hughes said there was no way he would leave Shelia behind.
"They only sent down one rope but I refused to leave Sheila because she's the love of my life," he said
"I put on my life jacket, jumped in the sea with the dog and we were both rescued from there."
The adventurer said the yacht then had to be sold on and he continued his travels to Australia via air.
"Shelia and I came in on a 747 instead," Mr Hughes said.
"We have been to 11 countries together and no matter the cost she remains by my side."
He said the flight and vets to get Shelia to Australia cost about $7000 and after 28 days in quarantine she was returned to his side.
Buying another boat from Tin Can Bay two years ago, the pair have since called Bundaberg home where Mr Hughes works and Shelia spends her days aboard waiting for her mate to return.
Mr Hughes came to Bundaberg years ago and at the time didn't think he would return.
"I first set eyes on Bundy 20 years ago and didn't think I would ever return - now I love the place and don't want to leave."
The next adventure Mr Hughes and his little champ have planned is flying after he bought a plane.
"I'm doing my pilot licence at the moment," he said. "I made sure the plane had two seats - one for me and one for my dog. There's only one woman in my life and that's Shelia."
Top five places Mark and Shelia have travelled to: