A 1-year-old Australian shepherd took an epic trek across 150 miles of frozen Bering Sea ice that included being bitten by a seal or polar bear before he was safely returned to his home in Alaska.
According to his dog mom, Mandy Iworrigan, Nanuq, which is Siberian Yupik for polar bear, was visiting the St. Lawrence Island city of Savoogna with his owners in March when he vanished along with another pup, Starlight.
Starlight eventually returned to the family around two weeks later, but Nanuq was nowhere to be seen. The family headed back home to Gambell, 37 miles north of Savoogna, in conviction their beloved Nanuq was gone forever.
It wasn’t until another family member uploaded a Facebook photo of a missing dog, who resembled Nanuq, that Iworrigan discovered her pup miraculously crossed the freezing Bering Sea and made a more than 100-mile trek north to Wales.
Iworrigan videotaped the wonderful reunion between the pup and her daughter on April 6.
Iworrigan recalled the moment she discovered Nanuq was alive.
‘My dad emailed me and said, “There’s a dog that looks like Nanuq in Wales,”‘ she said CBS.
She hastily checked Facebook and instantly recognized the lost pup was Nanuq. Iworrigan was in surprise the Australian shepherd made it so far in frigid temperatures.
‘I have no idea why he ended up in Wales. Maybe the ice changed while he was hunting,’ she replied.
‘I’m quite confident he ate remnants of seal or caught a seal. Probably birds, too. He eats our Native cuisine. He’s smart.’
Within no time, Iworrigan paid for her dog to take a direct trip from Wales to Gambell.
She filmed herself and her kid waiting in anticipation for the regional jet bearing Nanuq to land on April 6.
The roughly 12-minute video finishes with Iworrigan’s kid yelling for excitement and greeting Nanuq along with their second dog, Starlight.
‘Sounds like a Disney Movie- but it’s REAL!’ she posted on Facebook.
Nanuq appeared to be in good health except from receiving a bite to the leg that needed quick treatment. The family is still unaware what bit him but suspect it may have been a polar bear.
‘Wolverine, seal, little nanuq, we don’t know, because it’s like a pretty huge bite,’ Iworrigan added.
The family couldn’t afford to pay $750 for Nanuq to obtain treatment. They were later gratefully offered support by the pet group, PAWS of Nome.