Determined Dog Lost at Sea Shows Up Again After Five Weeks

Doug Williams
Luna the dog and Nick Haworth - Author: Pattymooney
Luna the dog and Nick Haworth - Author: Pattymooney

From time to time, we hear remarkable and inspiring stories about dogs who get separated from their owners and do amazing things to get back to their families.

There have been stories about pets walking hundreds of miles cross-country just to get back home, but in one case in California, one lost dog managed to swim home instead.

In February 2016, Nick Haworth, a 20-year-old student at San Diego State and a commercial fisherman, was out on his boat north of San Diego, about two miles from San Clemente Island.

Keeping him company was Luna, his 18-month-old German-shepherd-husky-mix puppy. Luna fell overboard into the water and was feared dead, according to White Wolf Pack, a site devoted to news about animals.

Luna fell overboard into the water
Luna fell overboard into the water

According to the report, Haworth and another man were pulling up lobster traps while Luna was hanging out with them, and then the next moment she was just gone.

Haworth and his crewmates looked everywhere they could for the young dog, but they weren’t able to spot her as her dark fur blended in with the dark water.

Haworth reported her loss to Navy personnel, telling them that the pup had fallen overboard but that she was a strong swimmer who would undoubtedly make for the nearest shore – San Clemente Island.

Haworth kept searching the water for his dog for several days, and the Navy personnel on the island looked for her there for about a week but no one caught sight of her.

Eventually, it was assumed that she had died at sea and that this was the end of a rather sad story.

Fortunately, the assumption was wrong.

About five weeks after Luna’s disappearance, on a Tuesday morning, staff coming to work at the San Clemente Island Naval Auxiliary Landing Field were greeted by the sight of a dog sitting at the side of the road.

The Public Affairs Officer for the base reported that she was just waiting and wagging her tail. When they called to the dog, she came right over to them.

Staff member Sandy DeMunnik further noted that there were no domesticated animals on the island, so her appearance was a stunning sight. The officers who spotted her opened their car door and whistled, and she came right over and got in the car.

In this photo provided by the Navy, Conner Lamb squats next to Nick Haworth’s 1 1/2-year-old German shepherd Luna – Credit: (Hayne Palmour IV / AP) (U.S. Navy via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
In this photo provided by the Navy, Conner Lamb squats next to Nick Haworth’s 1 1/2-year-old German shepherd Luna – Credit: (Hayne Palmour IV / AP) (U.S. Navy via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the dog apparently swam to shore and then survived on her own for the next five weeks, showing an enormous amount of determination.

Luna was slightly malnourished but was otherwise healthy and uninjured. It’s believed that she had been catching and eating small rodents in order to survive.

The friendly young dog was a big hit among the personnel at the naval base, which didn’t allow domestic animals, and won a lot of hearts with her pluck and friendliness.

Luna was flown to the Coronado base on North Island the following day, where she was picked up by a friend of Haworth’s, Connor Lamb, as Haworth himself was out of town fishing on a lake in Arizona.

Luna and Haworth were reunited the next day when he returned from the trip.

Haworth had been devastated when he had finally had to accept the idea that Luna was probably dead. He posted a RIP message on Facebook with pictures of his blue-eyed pup.

When he received the news that she had been found alive and apparently healthy, a new post went up on his timeline saying he was “beyond stoked to have Luna back. I always knew she was a warrior.”

Before Luna was released to Lamb, Naval Base Coronado commander Stephen Barnett gave her a special dog tag, which read “For Luna, keep the faith.”


fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival