11 Aug 2010
This is the amazing story of an Australian Cattle Dog named Sophie Tucker, named after the famous 20th century vaudeville star. She survived after falling overboard from her owner’s sailing boat. Sophie was a pampered house pet but when the going got rough she showed her true strength.
In November 2008 Sophie’s owners Dave and Jane Griffith were sailing in the Whitsundays, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The weather got very rough when Sophie fell into the choppy water. Her owners searched frantically for her for over an hour but there was no sign of their beloved dog. They finally gave up hope of finding her and assumed she was drowned or taken by sharks. They cut short their trip and went home, feeling devastated that their beautiful Sophie was lost forever.
But Sophie had survived. The brave dog swam five nautical miles through the stormy sea to the remote island of St. Bees. The island is inhabited by a small number of residents and is known for its koala bear population and goats.
Four months after she fell overboard, Sophie was spotted on the island. She looked thin and starving but started to improve and look well as time passed as she began hunting baby goats. The island rangers, who patrol the island thought they had found a wild dog and had a hard time catching her. She wouldn’t let anyone touch her and would not take food from anybody. She was finally caught and a report put on the radio stating an Australian cattle dog had been found. The news reached the Griffiths who heard a dog matching Sophie’s description was found in the region.
Experts say Cattle dogs are probably the most suited type of dog to survive something like this, but it would have been a very tough ordeal. Sophie had to depend on her natural instincts to survive and would have undergone a personality change and so becoming wild and vicious. She had to do whatever was necessary to stay alive. This strong will to survive is in all species, including humans.
Dave and Jane Griffith met the rangers boat bringing Sophie to the mainland. There were tears and laughter as they saw their Sophie again. She had been like a snarling, ferocious beast in the cage and everyone gave her plenty of space. However, when the Griffiths called her name she started whimpering and crying and so did everybody who was standing there. When she was let out of the cage, she ran into the arms of her family. Sophie never forgot them and the love she felt for Jane and Dave. The huge joy and relief of being reunited with their incredible dog can hardly be put into words. They thought Sophie was dead and now they had her home safe and secure with them again. Sophie soon settled back into the comforts of home life.
Both man and animal can overcome great obstacles. Where there is a will, there is a way.