Pet dog reunited with owners after falling overboard

A pet dog that fell overboard in rough seas off Australia has been reunited with its owners after surviving alone on an island for four months.

The dog ‘Sophie Tucker’, apparently named after the famous 20th century vaudeville star, fell overboard as Jane Griffith and her family sailed through choppy waters off the northeast Queensland coast while on a sailing holiday in the Whitsundays last November.

Mrs Griffiths said that she and her family believed that their pet had drowned and were devastated. But instead of succumbing to the waves, Sophie Tucker paddled more than five nautical miles through shark-infested waters to St Bees Island, and began a new life as a castaway.

The dog was returned to its family last week when Mrs Griffith contacted rangers who had captured a dog that had been living off feral goats on the largely uninhabited island, in the faint hope that it might be her long-lost pet.

When the Griffiths met the boat bringing the dog to the mainland they found their lost pet 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,’ Griffith told the national AAP news agency. ‘She wriggled around like a mad thing.’

Mrs Griffiths added: ‘She surprised us all. 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.’ She added: ‘We wish she could talk, we truly do.’