Posted By RichC on October 6, 2010
While celebrating our dog Tootsie’s 13th birthday on Tuesday – she’s a teenager (born: 10/5/1997) – I caught the last few minutes of an Animal Planet program “Weird, True and Freaky – Lost and Found.” I remember mentioning the story on my blog about a cattledog that fell off of a sailboat and survived on a tropical island hunting and eating wild goats. Since the dog was the same breed as ours it caught my attention. Unfortunately I missed the entire episode, but I wanted to at least clip enough of it to share. Sophie Tucker (video above) is an amazing survivor … and in my opinion is a double for our Tootsie (photo right).
Below is the story from UK’s DailyMail:
When Jan Griffith's beloved dog, Sophie Tucker fell overboard from her family's yacht she feared her pet had drowned.
But Sophie Tucker, a grey and black cattle dog, wasn't going to give up that easily.
The determined pet swam six miles through ferocious shark-infested seas to an island, where she survived for more than four months by hunting wild goats for food.The extraordinary story of the castaway hound emerged today when Miss Griffith was reunited with her beloved pet.
'I thought I'd never see her again, but she's proved to be a dog who can really look after herself,' said Miss Griffith.
Miss Griffith and her friends searched the area, putting their own lives at risk in the rough seas, but there was no sign of Sophie Tucker.
Unknown to them, the dog swam towards remote St Bees Island, a quiet volcanic strip of land fringed with reefs.
On land there are rainforests and dense grasslands where koalas and wild goats live.
A handful of people living on the island reported seeing a dog running around, but assumed it was a feral animal.
When the bodies of several young goats were found, locals contacted wildlife rangers and word of a dog on the island reached the ears of Miss Griffith and her family.
'We wondered whether it could be Sophie Tucker but thought 'No way'.
'She would have had to have swum through five miles of sea to get there and then work out how to survive.
'It just couldn't be her, we decided, but when we were told the dog had been caught and they were bringing it to the mainland we thought we should have a look.'
They waited at the marina as the rangers' boat came in - and there in the cage was a grey and black dog.
'We called her name and she went crazy - whimpering and banging on the cage, so they let her out and she ran over to us and almost knocked us over with excitement,' Miss Griffiths said.
'She's settled in well back at home now. I think she's appreciating the air conditioning.'
Locals said it was astonishing that Sophie Tucker had not been attacked by sharks.
Even though she was lost inside the Great Barrier Reef, which tends to keep sharks away from the coast, tiger sharks and hammerheads do swim through the coral - and dogs are at particular risk.
'The smell of a wet dog is irresistible to a shark,' said a fisherman.
'You don't often hear of dogs surviving if they decide to go for a bit of a swim. Even a big fish will have a go at their legs.
'So for this dog to swim for five miles or so, and then swim a bit between islands, is incredible. She's a very lucky animal.'