Overboard Dog Survives on Island for Months

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

ByABC News
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.