The castaway dog who swam SIX miles through shark-infested waters, then survived FOUR months on a desert island
By Richard Shears
Last updated at 11:30 AM on 07th April 2009
When Jan Griffith's beloved dog, Sophie Tucker fell overboard from her family's yacht she feared her pet had drowned.
But Sophie Tucker, a grey and black cattle dog, wasn't going to give up that easily.
The determined pet swam six miles through ferocious shark-infested seas to an island, where she survived for more than four months by hunting wild goats for food.
Sophie Tucker fell overboard in rough seas and swam through shark infested waters to safety
The extraordinary story of the castaway hound emerged today when Miss Griffith was reunited with her beloved pet.
'I thought I'd never see her again, but she's proved to be a dog who can really look after herself,' said Miss Griffith.
Sophie Tucker, named after the American vaudeville comedian, fell overboard from the family's yacht when they ran into bad weather off the Queensland coastal town of Mackay.
Miss Griffith and her friends searched the area, putting their own lives at risk in the rough seas, but there was no sign of Sophie Tucker.
Unknown to them, the dog swam towards remote St Bees Island, a quiet volcanic strip of land fringed with reefs.
Sophie Tucker swam six miles to reach St. Bees Island
On land there are rainforests and dense grasslands where koalas and wild goats live.
A handful of people living on the island reported seeing a dog running around, but assumed it was a feral animal.
When the bodies of several young goats were found, locals contacted wildlife rangers and word of a dog on the island reached the ears of Miss Griffith and her family.
'We wondered whether it could be Sophie Tucker but thought 'No way'.
'She would have had to have swum through five miles of sea to get there and then work out how to survive.
'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.'
They waited at the marina as the rangers' boat came in - and there in the cage was a grey and black dog.
Sophie survived on an island off the Queensland coast inhabited by wild goats. File picture
'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,' Miss Griffiths said.
'She's settled in well back at home now. I think she's appreciating the air conditioning.'
Locals said it was astonishing that Sophie Tucker had not been attacked by sharks.
Even though she was lost inside the Great Barrier Reef, which tends to keep sharks away from the coast, tiger sharks and hammerheads do swim through the coral - and dogs are at particular risk.
'The smell of a wet dog is irresistible to a shark,' said a fisherman.
'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.'
The island doesnt look that deserty out. but what a brave dog