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Dog's tale -- four months on a remote island -- is a true survivor story

April 7, 2009 | 10:05 am


Last week Outposts published an item on cats and the claims by some groups that the cuddly pets are a threat to declining species of birds and other wildlife. Cat lovers hissed and some directed criticism toward me, even though all I did was present the claims.

Well, a story making the rounds this week will not turn dog lovers against me or this blog. It features an Australian cattle dog named Sophie Tucker, who fell from a sailboat in rough seas off Australia four months ago and was presumed drowned.

Turns out, Sophie was doggedly determined. She paddled five miles to a remote island and survived by eating baby feral goats, which was the "Survivor" thing to do.

Rangers last week captured a ragged-looking Sophie and reunited her with her family. There was a good deal of whimpering and rump-shaking when pet and pet owners caught a first glimpse of each other. And when rangers let the dog out of cage "she just about flattened us," Jan Griffith told the AAP news agency.

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

I can see a cat accomplishing the latter (presumably the island had birds to prey on), but not the former, because cats are not very good at dog-paddling.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo of Sophie Tucker by Agence France-Presse