8 Mysterious Tales of Traveling Dogs

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Dogs disappear, dogs get lost, dogs are taken, and when we're lucky, dogs go home again. Here are eight stories of "How did that dog get here?"

Saudi Arabia to California

A purebred Saluki was found and taken to a shelter in Carlsbad, California. Shelter officials found an implanted microchip and hoped it would reunite the dog with its owners, but the information on the chip said the dog belonged to the U.S. Military Training Mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia! No one seriously thinks the dog made it to California from Saudi Arabia on its own, but how he arrived in the US is a mystery -for now. The San Diego County Animal Services Department hopes that publicity will help find the dog's rightful owner.

The Saluki is an extreme case of a dog out of place, but there are plenty of stories of a dog traveling hundreds of miles one way or another, whether to be reunited with family, or to get away from them -which may be against the dog's will.

70 Miles Through a War Zone

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Major Brian Dennis adopted an abused mixed-breed dog in Anbar Province, Iraq. He named the dog Nubs because his ears had been cut off. Dennis nursed Nubs back to health over four months, but then he was ordered to move his squadron 70 miles away. Two days later, Nubs rejoined Dennis! The dog had tracked him down despite subfreezing temperatures and rough terrain. But the major received orders to get rid of the dog within four days or he would be shot. Dennis started an email campaign to save Nubs that raised $3,500 within a couple of days, and battled bureaucratic difficulties to get the dog out of Iraq across the Jordanian border. Nubs was flown to the US the next week, where he was met by friends and a veterinarian in Chicago, then by a dog trainer at his final destination in San Diego. Major Dennis was reunited with Nubs after his tour was up a month later.

Florida to Louisiana

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A female Jack Russell terrier named ToBoi disappeared from Barbara Apostolo's home in Miramar, Florida. Three years later, she received a call from a shelter in Louisiana. ToBoi had been found, thanks to a microchip with Apostolo's contact information. A friend arranged to fly ToBoi back to Florida, where she was reunited with her owner. In addition to the mystery of how ToBoi got to Louisiana, Apostolo still doesn't know how the dog escaped in the first place.

Florida to Tennessee

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Dennis and Linda Geary had a chip implanted in their German Shepherd named Astro when they lived in Florida. The dog, obviously unhappy with the procedure, ran off and the Gearys didn't see him again for nine years. This past March, a shelter in Tennessee contacted the Gearys at their present home in Louisville, Kentucky to tell them they had Astro and had retrieved his owners' information from the microchip.

"We had him in Florida and then moved so many times from Florida to New Hampshire to Maine back down to Florida and then here to Kentucky. And somehow he ended up in Tennessee, it's unbelievable," the couple's son, Trevor Geary, said.

"All the way down we were like, 'What if this guy doesn't remember us,'" Dennis Geary said. "We got down there and he remembered the both of us as soon as he came out from behind the walls. He was wagging his tail, tipped his head and was like, 'Where have you been?'"

We'll probably never know where Astro was for nine years, but he is home now.

Five Nautical Miles to Land

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Jan and Dave Griffith were sailing off the coast of Queensland, Australia with their Australian cattle dog Sophie Tucker when rough seas pitched the dog overboard. As Sophie was a house dog without ocean experience, the Griffiths though she was gone for good. Four months later, Sophie was found on an uninhabited area of remote St. Bees Island. five nautical miles from where she went overboard. She apparently swam through shark-infested waters and survived on the island by eating wild goats. Sophie was suspicious and difficult to handle after her ordeal, but readjusted to her normal house dog life after she was reunited with the Griffiths.

Cornwall to Scotland

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Sonya and William McKerron of Cornwall, England were distraught when their 17-year-old collie Lucy wandered away from home in February. Four months later, a dog with an implanted microchip was picked up in a garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was Lucy, who had ended her journey 550 miles from home!  The shelter manager suspects that Lucy was taken by someone who brought her to Scotland, as she would have no reason to wander off to Scotland. We will probably never know for sure.

Kansas to Montana

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Cher Jarosz and her daughter Kari Mitchell of Lee's Summit, Missouri had a Boston Terrier named Mickey. In 2003, Mickey disappeared from their fenced-in back yard. As time passed, Jarosz and Mitchell gave up hope of ever seeing Mickey again. In 2007, a woman brought a lost Boston Terrier to a shelter in Billings, Montana. Shelter manager Kara Ward found a microchip on the dog which connected her to a veterinary clinic in Lee's Summit, Missouri -1,100 miles away.

"I called that vet clinic because they were the one that should have a record of that chip," Ward said. "I gave them the chip number, and the woman kind of started screaming.

"She goes, "˜Oh my God, is that a Boston terrier? Oh my God, it belongs to Kari Mitchell. She used to work here."'

Mickey was flown home to be reunited with his family.

77 Miles Through the Desert

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Doug Dashiell took his three dogs, including a Siberian husky named Moon on a weekend trip. The one-year-old dog broke free from a chain during a rest stop near Railroad Valley, Nevada. Dashiell searched for her for several hours, then went home to Ely, Nevada. He contacted a reservation near the area where Moon disappeared but no one had seen her. Within several days, Dashiell knew there was no hope for Moon. But just over a week after her disappearance, Moon was found on the streets of Ely! The distance from railroad Valley to Eli is 77 miles -more if you don't travel in a straight line- through the Nevada desert. Dashiell was contacted by his regular veterinary office after Moon was turned in. She smelled as if she had encountered a skunk, but the rest of her story is a mystery.

If these dogs could talk, their stories might be worthy of best sellers. As it is, they remain a mystery. One thing is clear: implanting your dog with an identifying microchip can really pay off.

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June 25, 2009 - 5:02am
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