Jan Griffith feared she had lost her beloved dog, Sophie Tucker, when the black and grey cattle dog fell overboard from the family yacht as they ran into bad weather close to the coastal town of Mackay in Queensland, Australia. Despite searching the rough sea, there was no sign of Sophie Tucker.
However, Sophie Tucker did not drown at all and in fact swam six miles through water infested by sharks to the remote desert island called St Bees Island, where she then managed to survive for four months hunting wild goats for food. There was a handful of people living on the island but they assumed the dog was feral.
As the bodies of a few young goats were discovered, the locals contacted wildlife rangers and Miss Griffith heard there was a dog on the island, but could barely believe the possibility it might be Sophie Tucker
Today, Miss Griffith has been reunited with her beloved pet. She said:
“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. I thought I’d never see her again, but she’s proved to be a dog who can really look after herself.”
The family waited to see the grey and black dog that the rangers’ boat brought back.
“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. She’s settled in well back at home now. I think she’s appreciating the air conditioning.”
The locals were amazed the dog had survived the swim to the island, saying that although the Great Barrier Reef provides some protection, there are still hammerheads and tiger sharks in the coral.
One local fisherman said:
“The smell of a wet dog is irresistible to a shark. 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.”