Journalist Pearse tells the heartwarming lost-and-found tale of Sophie, an Australian blue heeler who became an unwitting castaway on St. Bees, an island off the Queensland coast.
Sophie was a pet store puppy, “the sleepiest of a litter of otherwise bumptious cattle dogs.” Although apparently disinterested in human attention, she nevertheless caught the eye of 16-year-old Bridget Griffith, who “fell hopelessly in love” with her. Gentle and affectionate, Sophie quickly won the hearts of Bridget’s parents and became the “fifth child” in a family of four children. Over time she transformed them from “steadfast canine disciplinarians to utter softies” who allowed her to come indoors and lay claim to an old leather armchair, a feat no other Griffith dog had ever accomplished. When Bridget left for college a year later, the bond between Sophie and Bridget’s parents—especially her father—intensified. In 2009, while the Griffiths and their canine “bestie” were out sailing, Sophie quietly slipped off the deck of their boat and into the ocean. A grief-stricken husband and wife gave up their beloved dog as lost. But against all odds, Sophie managed to swim treacherous, shark-infested waters to land on one, then another, sparsely populated island. Rejecting the humans with whom she came into contact, she survived alone for an incredible five months until she was captured and returned to the Griffiths. Occasionally overdramatized, this story of canine loyalty and the power of human-animal relationships is as charming as its blue-furred heroine.
A treat for dog lovers.