Cover: Daryl Wright/Rex Features and Matthieu Paley/Corbis
Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog
By Emma Pearse
336 pages; Da Capo Press
Sophie, a 3-year-old Australian cattle dog, was beloved by the Griffith family for her sweet, companionable nature. After falling overboard on a holiday boating trip, Sophie somehow managed to navigate the treacherous, predator-infested waters of the Great Barrier Reef; she washed up on the shore of a wildlife reserve and used her canine instincts to get by on a tiny island populated by goats, birds and butterflies. This loyal-to-the-end loner continually spurned well-meaning advances from the island's human caretakers, presumably holding out for rescue by her owners—for more than four long months. Journalist Emma Pearse pieces together Sophie's harrowing ordeal from interviews with family members and island locals and tenderly describes the effect the dog's disappearance had on the heartbroken Griffiths. For dog owners who have ever gazed into the adoring eyes of their pet and felt like there were no bounds to what this creature would do for them...well, in affirming the unbreakable bond between humans and dogs, this book will confirm that hunch.