A one-year-old pet dog took an epic trek across 150 miles of frozen Bering Sea ice, being bitten by a seal or polar bear before being returned safely to his home in Alaska.
Mandy Iworrigan – owner of Australian shepherd Nanuq, who lives in Gambell, Alaska – and her family were visiting Savoogna, another St Lawrence Island community in the Bering Strait, last month when Nanuq disappeared with their other family dog, Starlight, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Starlight turned up a few weeks later, but Nanuq, which means polar bear in Siberian Yupik, was nowhere to be found.
“My dad texted me and said, ‘There’s a dog that looks like Nanuq in Wales’,” Ms Iworrigan said.
She reactivated her Facebook account to see if it might be her wandering hound.
“I was like, ‘No freakin’ way! That’s our dog! What is he doing in Wales?’” she said.
The details of Nanuq’s journey are likely to remain a mystery.
“I have no idea why he ended up in Wales. Maybe the ice shifted while he was hunting,” Ms Iworrigan said.
She used airline points to get her dog back to Gambell on a regional air carrier last week, a charter that was transporting athletes for the Bering Strait School District’s Native Youth Olympics tournament.
Ms Iworrigan filmed the happy reunion when the plane landed at the air strip in Savoonga, with she and her daughter Brooklyn shrieking with joy.
Except for a swollen leg, with large bite marks from an unidentified animal, Nanuq was in pretty good health.
“Wolverine, seal, small nanuq, we don’t know, because it’s like a really big bite,” she said.