It is no secret that dogs have acute spatial awareness, a superior sense of smell and innate stamina for lengthy roaming walks. But it is the unbreakable bond between dogs and their humans that provided the motivation for these incredible journeys.
Pero reunited with his owners. Image via BBC
In April 2016, a sheepdog who’d just been rehomed in Cumbria for trials decided to escape and make the incredible 240-mile journey back to his original owners in Ceredigion, Wales.
Dog behaviourist Stan Rawlinson suggests Pero could have been using ‘the magnetism in the earth’ as a spatial compass in much the same way as a homing pigeon.
His owner, Mr James had just finished his supper when he popped outside and saw his hairy best friend on the doorstep, limping and thinner, but jumping excitedly to see him again at last. The James's decided to keep Pero.
Hit and run
Shavi and Nina reunited. Image via One Green Planet
A homeless dog called Shavi was left to die on the streets of south-west Russia after being hit by a car one winter. With two broken legs, she was taken to a vet for treatment. After launching an appeal to find someone who could look after Shavi, the vet found Nina Baranovskaya who collected her and helped her to walk again. She nursed Shavi back to health, working on regaining her confidence and strength.
Due to work commitments, Nina couldn’t keep Shavi and instead found her a new home with friends 185 miles away, near the Russian border. After just a few days, Shavi disappeared from her new home.
Two weeks later, whilst walking along the road outside her home, Nina felt something brush up against her leg. Bursting into tears she realised it was Shavi, having made the almost 200-mile journey back to the woman who had saved her life and legs.
The pair stuck together and moved into a bigger apartment so Shavi had plenty of room to play. Speaking to One Green Planet, Nina said, "Of course, she has (now) remained with us for good. I would never give this kind of friend away again. Animals are the most loyal and loving creatures in the world. For every drop of human love, they are willing to give all of theirs in return, and I know that from personal experience. Shavi is like a child to me.”
Bucky the black Labrador retriever was left heartbroken when his owner, Mark Wessells, had to move 300 miles from Virginia US to South Carolina into a property that didn’t allow pets in Myrtle Beach.
Not long after Mark left Bucky with his father, Bucky disappeared. Months passed and Mark gave up hope until he received a call from a local animal hospital. Someone had found a stray dog running around Myrtle Beach at two in the morning.
Sure enough, after scanning the dog’s microchip, the black Labrador retriever responded excitedly to the vet’s question, ‘are you Buck?’ and the two were reunited within hours.
Bobbie the wonder dog
Bobbie after starring in the film of his adventure. Image via Wiki
In 1924, on a family road trip to Indiana, two-year-old Scotch Collie Bobbie lost his way and was pronounced missing for months. His family were distraught, never expecting to see Bobbie again. But the Scotch Collie mix was busy walking 2,551 miles across deserts and mountains to reach his loved ones back in Oregon.
Six months later and he’d finally made it home, finding fame and fortune on his return in the form of fan letters, books, newspaper articles and even keys to cities for his bravery and dedication. Bobbie went on to play himself in 1924 silent movie, The Call of the West.
And the loyalty doesn’t end with us humans. In Brazil, a generous animal lover named Lucia had noticed when feeding a stray dog called Lilica, she would stare at the bag of food once finishing her meal.
After seeing what would happen if she tied the bag of food to Lilica’s back, she was amazed to find what was caught on camera. Lilica risks her life travelling back and forth four miles every evening to bring the food back to her ‘family’.
One cat, another dog, a mule and a few chickens are able to chow down on the generous dog’s dinner every evening thanks to Lilica’s courageous treks.