A samoyed-husky mix, Zander, missed his owner John Dolan who was hospitalized for a skin condition so much that he tracked his scent over a distance of two miles from Bay Shore in New York to a hospital two miles away.
MyFoxNY.com reports that John Dolan's wife Priscilla, says the dog was very upset when his owner left home. According to Priscilla, Zander sulked continuously and was totally depressed. She said: "I think he was crying - I swear to God."
CBS News reports that Priscilla Dolan said the dog moped around the house and would curl up on his bed in a ball and howl.
Zander, unable to bear the pain of separation, finally left the Dolan's home in Bay Shore, Long Island in the middle of the night and traveled on his own to the Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center two miles away. According to The Inquistr, the dog left the house at about 3. a.m. The Daily Mail reports the Dolans say Zander had never been to the hospital before and that he probably tracked Mr Dolan by following his scent.
According to MyFoxNY, Zander traveled across several busy roads, including the Robert Moses Parkway, and a busy four-lane road.
John Dolan said the dog passed not just houses. He said: "We’re in an area where there’s a nature reserve there. He had to go on Montauk Highway at some point, you know. That’s a busy road,There’s a stream in there somewhere he had to go across,” CBS News reports.
A hospital employee found the dog outside the hospital building. The hospital worker called the number on Zander's collar. The number was Mr. Dolan's and he answered it from hospital bed. CBS News reports John said the hospital worker spoke to him on the phone: "'You have a dog.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He’s like, ‘Well, you gotta come get him. I gotta go to work. I’m at the hospital. I gotta go to...' I’m like, ‘I can’t go and get him. I’m in the hospital myself.’"
According to ABC News, Priscilla did not realize Zander was missing until her husband called her.
Zander repeated the two-mile-trek a few days later and this time he was picked up by a passing stranger.
The Daily Mail reports Mr. Dolan has now returned home and he is deeply impressed with the dog's loyalty. He said: "It took a few says to sink in - he was really coming to see me... Us boys gotta stick together." He noted that the dog has earned fame. He said: "He's got a great face for TV."
The Dolans adopted the 7-year-old white samoyed-husky mix from a shelter five years ago. According to the Dolans, Zander was near starvation when they adopted him. John Dolan told the Daily Mail: "We don't have any children. We have three beautiful dogs, so he's my buddy." Priscilla told CBS News: “He will always remember John brought him home from the shelter and I think that is where the loyalty comes from.”
ABC News reports Zander has a history of running away from home. Priscilla said "He’s gotten out in the past, but never gone to that location or anywhere near [the hospital].”
The Dolans believe Zander traced his owner's scent to the hospital. According to CBS News, “Animal behaviorists said Zander may have been able to make the more than two-mile trek partly due to his olfactory receptors. Dogs like Zander have 200 million to 300 million scent glands, while humans have just five million scent glands.”
Veterinarian Dr. John Charos said: "Some of them seem to have a special human-animal bond that leads them that way, whether it’s a sixth sense..."
Digital Journal recently reported the case of Capitan, a German shepherd mix, who ran away from home after his master Miguel Guzman died in 2006, and stood guard over his master's grave for six years. Guzman's family found the dog sitting on his master's grave.
The Dolans say that Zander proves that dogs adopted from shelters could also be loyal to their owners.