A local dog recently made national headlines when she somehow found her way home after getting separated from her owner on a hike 35 miles from her house. Georgia, an 8 year old Shar-Pei mix, disappeared after chasing a rabbit into the hills off a trail at the Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve. Her owner, Kris Anderson, was distraught after rangers told her they didn’t expect Georgia to survive the night with all of the coyotes that live in the park.
Anderson never gave up hope of finding Georgia, and she and her daughter made daily 70 mile round trips from her home in Carlsbad, in the hope that they would reunite with their dog at the reserve.
9 days after she disappeared, Georgia came through the doggy door and ran to find Anderson in her bedroom. She was tired, thin, and covered in scratches, but incredibly, she managed to make the long journey over the 4th of July holiday and find her way home. Anderson was stunned. The family vet expects Georgia to make a full recovery.
Georgia is just the latest example of the amazing ability our pets have to find their way home over long distances when they get separated from their families. Animal behavior experts say that this ability comes from a combination of good visual memory and mental mapping, along with a strong sense of smell.
Anderson admits that Georgia was off-leash when she ran off, despite posted warnings at the reserve to keep dogs leashed. Besides coyotes, other dangers like rattlesnakes, ticks, and other off-leash dogs can be hazards to dogs allowed to run off-leash in nature preserves. While Georgia’s story has a happy ending, it serves as a good reminder to keep your dog leashed on hikes and walks.