cover image Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog

Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog

Emma Pearse. Da Capo, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7382-1467-2

Pearse, an Australian journalist, shares the amazing true story of Sophie, an Australian cattle dog who, on a boating trip with her human family, is swept overboard into the Great Barrier Reef. After a fruitless search, the devastated owners reluctantly conclude that their beloved pet has either drowned or been carried off by ocean predators. Unbeknownst to them, little Sophie swims—for up to 24 hours—to remote Keswick Island. When food and water prove to be scarce, the exhausted and emaciated Sophie undertakes another perilous swim, this time to nearby St. Bees island, where five months later, she is caught and finally reunited with her family. While Sophie’s story is riveting, Pearse’s telling drags in spots, especially when she describes how the family grieved for their lost dog; the writing is affecting but repetitious. The story shimmers, however, when the author focuses on recreating Sophie’s island experiences—through interviews with animal experts like Temple Grandin and with witnesses who noticed the castaway—and describing the joyous reunion. A tender, delightful story of how a cosseted pup turned into a hardy, intrepid—and very lucky—“supercanine,” this book will endear itself to dog and adventure lovers everywhere. (Feb.)