We’ve all heard the stories of dogs and cats walking thousands of miles to get back to their owners, but usually, those stories have an ending of a happy reunion. Unfortunately, for one poor dog in Russia, a long hike across the dangerous Siberian taiga didn’t exactly end that way.
But the walk is a testament to the dog’s amazing endurance and sense of direction — as well as a love for her owners.
Maru the dog was born and kept in kennels along the Trans-Siberian railway, then adopted when she was five months old. But then the owners suddenly changed their minds about the bullmastiff, saying that she was irritating allergies in the house. So, they contacted Alla Morozova, the woman who ran the kennel.
“I never give up my puppies and when a dog is bought, it is stipulated that the owners should inform me if they do not need a dog anymore,” said Morozova.
Morozova agreed to take Maru back.
They made arrangements to send the dog back to the kennels on a train. The ride would take her about 200 kilometers or 125 miles across the Siberian taiga.
But to everyone’s amazement, the train ride didn’t go smoothly. While they were at a stop, Maru worked the door to the cabin until she managed to break it open. Then she leaped from the train and set off across a dangerous journey in pursuit of her owners.
When Morozova learned that Maru was gone, she contacted her former owners to enlist their help in finding her.
But to her outrage, they weren’t interested in lending a hand.
“That angered me,” she said. “The owners were not upset at all, like, well, the dog is lost and that’s all right. That was their answer. They gave the dog away and the load fell off their shoulders.”
Morozova was deeply concerned not just for Maru’s physical safety, but also her emotional state.
She said she must’ve been in a panic on the train, and now desperate to find the family she was sure would be happy to see her again.
Thankfully, they were able to find Maru two days later, right back in the town where her family lived.
“She had walked and run for two and a half days,” said Morozova. “Luckily neither bears ate her, nor wolves chewed her up.”
Both species can be found in the region.
Volunteers who found Maru said she had tears in her eyes. She also had an injury on her muzzle and her paw pads were bleeding. But amazingly, she had survived.
“I’m sure that she was looking for her house,” said Morozova. “Dogs are very attached to people. She did not run to Novosibirsk. She wanted to go back where she lived. It is surprising that she went the right way. Geographically, she had no reference points at all. And to make her away through the wild taiga, it is an amazing case.”
Maru is now back in the kennels with her own parents. She is recovering slowly but surely. Morozova hopes that one day, she will be able to find another family — one that will reward her for her love and loyalty.
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