Travel

Advertorial

Amazing animal journeys

7 SEPTEMBER 2008
Green turtles are well known for their incredible homing instinct - female turtles swim more than a thousand miles from coastal feeding grounds in Brazil to the Ascension Island to lay their eggs. And one Leatherback sea turtle was recorded making the longest documented migration of any sea vertebrate, travelling over 12,000 miles over 647 days to feast on jellyfish.

But it's not just the more exotic species that can clock up the miles; the domestic pets in these stories have some amazing travelling tales to tell.

Curious cats

After being told he could no longer keep pets in his Indiana apartment, David James reluctantly gave his cat Biscuit to a man with a farm in another town. A week later James opened his back door to find Biscuit nursing three kittens. She'd travelled over ten miles to give birth to her brood in familiar surroundings, displaying a homing instinct any turtle would applaud.

In typical cat fashion, some furry felines just lay back and sleep through their amazing journeys. After settling down for a nap somewhere dark and quiet, Italian cat Versace next saw daylight in Chester five days later. Unaware that his kitty hotel room was in fact an export crate, the young puss travelled through Switzerland and France to the UK, where he was discovered by Defra and rehomed after spending six months in quarantine.

Dare-devil dogs

Five years after Rocco the beagle vanished from the garden of his New York home, his young owner had almost given up hope of ever being reunited with her pet pooch. But 850 miles away in Georgia, Rocco was picked up wandering the streets near an army base and identified by the microchip under his fur. Apart from a scar on his ear and having made friends with a few fleas along the way, the adventurous mutt was found in good condition and was reunited with his favourite toy and a thrilled 11-year-old girl.

Just as surprised to be reunited with his dog, after being forced to abandon him in a war zone, was American marine Major Brian Dennis. Serving in Iraq, Denis came across a mongrel that had been badly abused and had its ears cut off. Naming the dog Nubbs, the Major nursed the dog back to health but was then ordered to move his squadron over 70 miles away. Two days after the move he was working outside when along came Nubbs looking like, as Dennis put it, "he'd been through a war zone".

But the mutt wasn't out of danger just yet. Days later someone informed on the two by-now-inseparable friends and Dennis was told that he had just four days to get rid of the dog or Nubbs would be shot. Concluding that Nubbs had been through enough in his eventful lifetime, the Major took on the dangerous mission of getting the mutt over the Jordanian border. Having made it to safer ground, Nubbs stayed with a Jordanian family before being flown over to the US to live the American Dream with his new best friend.

Puts most of our pets’ trials and tribulations in perspective, doesn’t it?

To ensure your pet gets the help it needs after a Homeward Bound-style adventure, get a pet insurance quote from Sainsbury's - awarded 'Best Online Pet Insurance Provider 2008' and 'Best Overall Online Provider 2007' by Your Money magazine.