JoAnna Lou
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Survivor, Doggy Edition
A canine castaway survives on an island for four months.

In November, the unthinkable happened to the Griffith family during a family boat trip. Their Australian Cattle Dog, Sophie Tucker, fell overboard into the choppy waters off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The family was devastated but after an unsuccessful search, the Griffiths thought they’d never see their beloved dog again.

Last month, a family friend passed along news about a dog on Saint Bees Island that was found hunting native goats. The Griffiths were skeptical that this could be Sophie Tucker, but when they learned that Queensland Parks and Wildlife was bringing the dog back to the mainland, they decided to set up a meeting. 

The Griffiths had a glimmer of hope when they spotted a grey and black dog. Upon calling Sophie Tucker’s name, the dog started whimpering and pawing at the side of the crate. And when the door was opened, their long lost dog ran into their arms, four months after losing her at sea.   

The wildlife rangers believe that Sophie Tucker swam five nautical miles through shark-infested waters to Saint Bees Island where she survived on crabs and baby goats.

Have you ever wondered if your dog could survive in the wild? My dogs certainly chase squirrels but I’m not quite sure they’d know what to do even if they could catch up with the lightening fast critters. But it seems as though our dogs’ survival instincts may be stronger than we think!


Check out a video of Sophie back home with her family:

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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