As Nick Haworth pulled in lobster traps on a boat off the coast of San Diego last month, his 1-year-old German Shepherd/Husky mix, Luna, jumped into the water and disappeared.
Haworth and others on board “looked everywhere for her,” Sandy DeMunnik, spokeswoman for Naval Base Coronado, told the Associated Press. “They couldn’t see her. The water was dark, and she’s dark.”
Along with Navy personnel, Haworth continued searching the water for Luna for two days, with no luck. Still, Haworth refused to give up hope that Luna had managed to swim 2 miles to nearby San Clemente Island. Navy personnel searched the island for a week by land and air, but there was no sign of Luna.
“She blended right in,” Navy wildlife biologist Melissa Booker told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Ten days after Luna disappeared, Haworth finally gave up hope. “RIP Luna,” he wrote on his Facebook page Feb. 20.
But Tuesday morning, five weeks after she went overboard, Navy personnel found Luna sitting by the side of a road on San Clemente Island. (The island, owned by the Navy and not open to civilians or pets, is used as a training base.)
“She was just sitting there, wagging her tail,” DeMunnik told the AP.
The crew members “literally opened up the car door, whistled and she jumped right in,” Booker told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Although she had lost some weight, Luna was otherwise healthy and uninjured. She apparently survived on a diet of rodents and dead fish that had washed up on shore.
When the Navy called Haworth with the good news about Luna, he was “so happy and grateful and thrilled,” DeMunnik told the AP.
Along with the weight, Luna lost her ID tag. The Navy gave her a new one, inscribed with “For Luna, Keep the Faith” — an important lesson taught to Navy and Marine personnel in the island’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) course.
Haworth has been working out of state, but will be reunited with Luna this afternoon. Stay tuned for an update on what’s sure to be a tissue-box-worthy event.
“Beyond stoked to have Luna back,” Haworth wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. “I always knew she was a warrior.”
“I’m just glad to have her home,” Haworth told the Associated Press after he was reunited with Luna tonight. “I never thought I’d see her again, to be honest with you.”
Haworth said Luna will join him again on the fishing boat soon, but some changes will be made.
“We got to keep a better eye on her, keep her on a leash on the boat, maybe even a doggy life jacket,” he told the AP.
Photo via YouTube