Dog reunited with owners after four months lost at sea

Owner Jan Griffith said her family were devastated when their cattle dog, Sophie Tucker, fell off the side of their boat in choppy waters off the Mackay coast in north Queensland in late November. A fortnight ago she was reunited with Griffith family thus completing a touching and wonderful tale about strong bond between man and his best friend.

The dog swam five nautical miles to St Bees Island, where she survived until last week by hunting baby goats.

She was returned to her family after rangers captured what they believed was a wild dog.

Ms Griffith said  was informed by their friends that a dog was captured in that island feeding on goat carcasses could be Sophie.

The couple met the rangers' boat as it ferried the dog back to the mainland and were blown away to find Sophie Tucker on board.
"We called the dog and she started whimpering and banging the cage and they let her out and she just about flattened us,'' Ms Griffith said on a televised interview.

"She wriggled around like a mad thing.'' and added
"She gave each of us a slurp on cheek and has slotted back into life with us like you would not believe."
But even more unbelievable was hearing how their domesticated "inside'' dog had survived, she said.
"She had looked really poor (on the island), the story was, and then all of a sudden she started to look good and it was when the rangers had found baby goat carcases so she'd started eating baby goats,'' she said.
"We think she'd swum close to five nautical miles from the boat where she went in and then some people believe she went backwards and forwards from Keswick to St Bees.''

The dog's survival story has even animal experts scratching their heads. Australian veterinarian Vicki Lomax told the Brisbane Times that Sophie's is a hardy breed, but virtually no dog would have been likely to survive what she went through.

"Cattle dogs are probably the most suited type of dog to survive something like this, but it would have been a major ordeal for her," Lomax said. "Five nautical miles is an incredibly big distance for any type of dog ... she is lucky she wasn't taken by a shark."

Ms Griffith said their pet had been quick to embrace her now easier existence - complete with air conditioning while enjoying her delicious mince and biscuits.

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