The bond between a pet and their owner is incredibly special; many will say that their dogs and cats are like members of their families. And when you’re used to bringing your furry friend with you everywhere you go, that bond is even stronger.
One sunny afternoon, fisherman Nick Haworth ventured out onto the Pacific Ocean north of San Diego, California, with his dog Luna. When they finally reached their destination that fateful day, though, Nick suddenly realized his beloved Luna was nowhere to be found…
On February 10, 2016, a 20-year-old fisherman named Nick Haworth ventured out onto the Pacific Ocean for a long day of fishing. The weather was perfect, and Nick was confident he’d return home with some great catches.
No day of fishing was complete without his dog, Luna, a one-year-old German shepherd-husky mix. Luna would always venture out onto the seas with Nick; she was a great companion, and Nick loved her dearly.
Nick and Luna had sailed about 80 miles off the coast of San Diego, California, near a small island called San Clemente, before things took a dark turn. As he was readying his gear, he realized Luna was no longer on the boat…
Panic immediately took over, and Nick began checking every nook and cranny of his boat. He hoped Luna was hiding in a small crevice somewhere, but after several minutes of searching, Nick realized she was gone.
Nick began wondering how he hadn’t noticed Luna disappear. She was by his side nearly the entire time! The only thing Nick could do at that point was continue his frantic search for his beloved companion.
Luna had always been a strong swimmer, but making it back to the San Diego coast would have been too far. Nick prayed that she knew to swim her way toward San Clemente after she fell overboard.
Nick radioed the local Coast Guard and Navy and told them what happened. They immediately sent out several boats to help with the search. As optimistic as Nick was, the officials warned him the chances of finding Luna were slim.
Nick told officials that Luna had grown up around water, and she went swimming every chance she had. He was confident she had the strength to make it to the shores of San Clemente.
Nick was grateful to have the help of the Coast Guard and Navy, but he was still perplexed as to how Luna fell overboard. They had been on countless fishing excursions together, and not once did he ever worry about a situation like this!
Because San Clemente housed a Naval base, people generally were not allowed to visit. Officials made an exception in this case, however, and Nick was allowed to come ashore to search for Luna. He was sure he’d find her somewhere on the island.
Over the next two days, Nick traversed the entire island, calling out Luna’s name again and again, hoping she would hear him. That was when Nick realized just how unlikely it was that Luna could’ve survived San Clemente’s conditions; El Niño weather patterns meant the island was battered by surf.
Nick stayed on San Clemente for two more days. He knew he couldn’t take advantage of the Navy’s generosity, so he was forced to eventually return home without Luna. After a long, emotional week, Luna was considered lost at sea and presumed dead.
Everyone close to Nick could clearly see how distraught he was after he returned home. His friend and fishing partner, Conner Lamb (below), said, “He was devastated.” Would Nick ever get over the loss of Luna?
Nick knew he had to accept the fact that he was most likely never going to see Luna again. He took to Facebook to post a few pictures of her to honor the time they spent together. It was Nick’s last tribute to his best friend.
Still grieving, Nick was forced to return to life as usual. A few weeks after the ordeal, he left town on a trip to Arizona to help clear his head. It was time for him to start rebuilding his world without his companion.
Meanwhile, five weeks after Luna disappeared, a group of Navy staffers arrived on San Clemente early one morning to begin some routine training. But when they stepped ashore, they were in awe of what they saw sitting on a dirt path in front of them…
To their utter disbelief, it was Luna! The sweet pup was wagging her tail and looking at the men eagerly. As soon as they called out to her, she ran right up to them, full of love and affection.
According to Melissa Booker, a Navy wildlife biologist who examined Luna after she was found, Luna’s coat had camouflaged her so well that crews couldn’t spot her. Although Luna was slightly malnourished, she was in good health; she likely survived on small rodents during the five weeks she was missing.
Because Nick was still in Arizona when he received the call, his friend Conner met the rescuers at San Diego’s Coronado Naval Base to pick up Luna. Conner was just as elated by the news, and Nick immediately headed back to San Diego.
Shortly after Nick returned home, the two best friends were finally reunited! Nick was in awe that Luna managed to survive for so long on the dangerous island. Even though Luna proved how strong-willed she was, Nick vowed to keep an extra-close eye on her when they went fishing together!
Nick always knew in his heart that Luna was a true survivor. What a fighting spirit she has!
Share this amazing reunion story with your friends below!