Overboard Dog Survives on Island for Months

Aussie family marvels at island survival of dog that went overboard months ago.

April 6, 2009, 4:07 PM

April 7, 2009— -- Call Sophie Tucker a lucky dog, or at the very least, a resourceful one.

Sophie, an Australian cattle dog thrown overboard in rough waters off the coast of Queensland, Australia, four months ago, managed to swim several miles to shore and live off the land in her own version of "Survivor."

The dog was traveling with her family when their ship hit rough seas. According to the Agence France-Press, Sophie went over the side of the boat and, despite her family's attempts to rescue her, disappeared.

"We hit a rough patch and when we turned around, the dog was gone," owner Jan Griffith told The Courier Mail of Australia. "We searched for her for ages, it was terrible, we were convinced she had drowned."

But the plucky pooch didn't drown. Unseen by anyone, Sophie swam about five nautical miles to St. Bees Island, which is mostly uninhabited and home to a host of wild animals.

Sophie survived on that island near Australia's Great Barrier Reef by hunting feral goats. After months in the wild, she was captured by local rangers and reunited with her family.

"She surprised us all," Griffith told AFP. "She was a house dog and look what she's done -- she's swum over five nautical miles, she's managed to live off the land all on her own."

Griffith said the rangers spotted a dog on the island in the months before Sophie was captured and that she did not look to be in very good condition, according to the AFP.

"And then all of a sudden she started to look good and it was when the rangers had found baby goat carcasses, so she'd started eating baby goats," Griffith said.

Mircale Seaworthy Dog Comes Ashore

The Griffith family contacted the rangers after hearing about a feral dog being captured, hoping it was their beloved Sophie, according to The Courier Mail.

When Sophie finally made it to the mainland, the Griffiths said she had no trouble recognizing the family who had given up hope after trying to save her.

"She was quite vicious in the cage but apparently relaxed as they came into harbor," Griffith said, according to The Courier Mail. "When we called her, she started whimpering and banging the cage. They let her out and she just about flattened us."

"And at that point there was not a dry eye in the house," Griffith said.

Now, Sophie is busy settling back into her posh life of air conditioning and comfort -- sans baby goats.

""We wish she could talk," Griffith has told AFP. "We truly do."

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