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  • Writer's pictureThree Dimensional Dog

Dog Walks 200 Miles to Find Family

Updated: May 17, 2019

In Three Dimensional Dog, A Unified Theory of Canine Behavior, I write about Oliver -- a black Labrador Retriever who left his home on a planned mission to find a new family. A similar story is now being reported out of Russia near the Ukrainian boarder.

Shavia is a black mix-breed stray who was injured after being hit by a car. She was saved and nursed back to health for 6 months by a woman named Nina.

Unable to care for Shavia, Nina adopted her to a family. After returning to health, Shavia ran away from home to make a 200 mile journey to locate and reunite with her savior. Shavia risked her life in this journey and even managed to locate Nina after having moved to a new home.

“I’ve heard amazing stories about dogs’ loyalty, but I never imagined this sort of thing would ever happen to me.  Even now, I can hardly believe this dog traveled such a long distance to find us, and most importantly, track us down to a new location.”

She likely used scent mapping, sight mapping, and geomagnetic headings to navigate the distance back to familiar territory, ultimately locating her original guardian. It was recently found that dogs are magnetically sensitive to the Earth's poles, and that internal compass was likely used by Shavia to log mental waypoints and headings. These coordinates overlay on top of other mental maps to create a comprehensive system of navigation.

These incredible stories exemplify the resilience, fortitude, and loyalty of our canine best friends. We should never underestimate their intelligence -- a mind that is different from ours in some ways, but is exceptionally capable and human-like in many other ways.

Original Story:

For more information about dog cognition order Three Dimensional Dog, A Unified Theory of Canine Behavior, and learn to see dog behavior in a new way.

Aaron McDonald is a canine behaviorist, cognitive theorist, and author. He can be reached at or at

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