Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dog Rescued After Months At Sea

Snickers the Sea Dog is barely more than a pup, but he's already an old salt. The eight-month-old pooch spent three months adrift on a 15-metre boat and survived four months on tiny Fanning Island - 1609 kilometres south of Hawaii - where his owners left him after their sailing boat ran aground last December. Now the cocker spaniel, who is in quarantine on Oahu after being rescued April 9 by Norwegian Cruise Line workers and a group of other people, will be flown to Los Angeles to meet a man who desperately wants to adopt him: retired Las Vegas resident Jack Joslin. "I love animals," Joslin said today. "I had two dogs up until the middle of March. Then I had to have my border collie euthanised. The day they called saying the ashes were back was when I read the story (about Snickers).It occurred to me I could do something." Hawaiian Airlines, moved by the dog's survival story, has given the go-ahead on flying the animal for free to the mainland, said Peter Forman, a Hawaii-based airlines historian who helped negotiate Snickers' transport. Forman said he expects Snickers to arrive sometime in the next three days. Snickers' ordeal began when his owners catamaran began experiencing mast problems after setting off from California, said Gina Baurile of the Hawaiian Humane Society. The boat drifted to Fanning Island where it hit a reef and the dog's owners, Jerry and Darla Merrow, swam 200 metres to shore with Snickers and their parrot, Gulliver.They left the island soon after on a cargo vessel leaving their pets in the care of islanders, Baurile said. Efforts to contact the Merrows have been unsuccessful. Robby Coleman, who owns a sail boat off Fanning Island then started watching out for the dog and parrot on the island, Forman said. "Robby put out the SOS and a lot of people got involved," Forman said. After being contacted by Formans wife the Hawaiian Humane Society took the lead on Snickers rescue and organised for a ship to be sent out to Fanning Island to pick up the dog, said Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman Krislyn Hashimoto. The dog landed in Honolulu on Wednesday, cleared customs and has been in quarantine since, awaiting transport to LA, Hashimoto said.

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