Luna, the German Shepherd-Husky mix who was lost at sea for five weeks after falling overboard while on a fishing trip with her owner, has been returned to her family, Canada Journal is reporting. On February 10, according to KNSD (San Diego) Luna and her owner, Nick Hayward, were out fishing among California’s Channel Islands, an archipelago of the coast of San Diego. They were about two miles off the coast of San Clemente Island, which houses a U.S. Navy base, when Luna fell overboard.
“One minute [Luna] was there and the next she was gone.”
Hayword assumed that Luna, who he described as a “very strong swimmer,” swam the two miles to San Clemente Island. He notified the U.S. Navy, who searched for the lost pup. Hayword stayed at sea another two days, looking for any sign of Luna. But after a week of fruitless searching, both Nick and the Navy assumed Luna was dead. Five weeks later, an unnamed U.S. Navy staff member was headed to work on the island when he saw an unexpected sight: Luna, who was wagging her tail. She ran right up to the sailor, according to Naval Base Coronado PAO Sandy DeMunnik.
“They saw Luna just sitting on the side of the road wagging her tail. Keep in mind, there are no domesticated animals on the island, so it was a stunning sight.”
Officially, San Clemente Island is uninhabited, but according to Wikipedia, there are at least 300 Naval and civilian personnel on the 56.81 square mile island (by comparison, New York’s Manhattan Island is 33.6 square miles). Naval authorities believe that Luna was able to find fresh water to drink thanks to puddles left over by rains brought by El Niño (there is no standing fresh water on San Clemente Island). For food, they believe Luna was able to eat rodents, and perhaps some dead fish that may have washed ashore. A biologist examined Luna and found that she was slightly malnourished but otherwise healthy. The biologist described her as being “in good spirits.”
The biologist notified Luna’s owner that his beloved pet hat been found, safe and (mostly) sound.
“He was overwhelmed. He was so happy and grateful and thrilled.”
Unfortunately for Luna’s owner, he was out of state for work when Luna was found, so he couldn’t be reunited with his beloved pup right away. Instead, family friend Conner Lamb stepped up to reclaim the lost pup until her owner could get home. Navy personnel flew Luna from the island to San Diego, where Lamb was able to pick her up.
“[It’s] just really mind blowing to tell you the truth. When I got the call this happened, [I] never even though this would be possible.”
On Wedensday, Hayward was home, and was joyfully reunited with his pet whom he had assumed had drowned. Luna is not the first dog to have been presumed lost at sea and then found alive later. In 2009, according to The Telegraph, Australian couple Jane and Dave Griffith were sailing off the coast of Queensland when their dog, Sophie, fell overboard in rough waters. The couple presumed that she had drowned; months later, the dog was found alive on an uninhabited island. She had swam five miles though rough, shark-infested waters, and survived by hunting and eating wild goats that live on the island.
Have you ever thought you’d lost a pet only to be reunited with him or her later? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/Vibrant Image Studio]