A one-year-old Australian shepherd has returned home in Alaska after disappearing with the family dog while on holiday in another community on the state’s island in the Bering Strait. After a few weeks, the family discovered the return of the other dog, Starlight, but Nanuq, meaning polar bear in Siberian Yupik, remained unaccounted for. It was a month after Nanuq’s disappearance that a dog resembling the missing pet was photographed in Wales, around 150 miles northeast of Savoogna. The family used airline points to transport the pet back, filming the joyful reunion when the plane landed at Savoonga.
While on his travels, Nanuq appeared to have encountered a predator, as he was found with large bite marks on a swollen leg. The predator type remains unknown, with the family suggesting it could have been a wolverine, seal, or even a small polar bear. The mystery of how Nanuq reached Wales may remain unsolved, though the family assumes the ice shifted while he was hunting.
Despite the harsh conditions, Nanuq appeared to have survived and fended for himself, with the family suggesting he may have eaten seal or caught birds. The family emphasise that their pet is very smart and independent.
This is not the first time a dog has disappeared over long distances but still managed to return home. In 2015, a deaf and blind blue heeler was able to navigate through the Australian Outback without food or water, registering over four miles a day, before returning home after missing for more than a week. Another Californian dog, Madera, returned after two years when found a hundred kilometres from the family home.