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The Amazing Story of Coconut Harry

Lost at Sea for Eight Days, Seafaring Dog is Back Home

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Shaggier and 15 pounds thinner after being lost at sea, a golden retriever named Coconut Harry was reunited with his owner on dry land.

``It's a miracle. I can't believe it,'' Naomi Simonelli said Thursday from her home near Key West. ``I was devastated. I thought he had drowned.''

The dog, who weighed 80 pounds before high winds swept him off Simonelli's boat April 14, braved strong currents as he swam about five miles.

He finally reached Monkey Island and workers there returned him to Simonelli on Monday. Scientists on the small island in the Keys conduct research on primates.

Coconut Harry emerged from the sea with marine life attached to him: sponges under his tail, algae dotting his matted coat.

The retriever was dehydrated but not too tired to try to quench his thirst - with some help from the workers.

``They tried to give him their lunches - meatball sandwiches and all that. But he was drinking coffee out of their thermos,'' a laughing Simonelli said.

She said she never lost hope of finding her best friend. The Coast Guard, the Florida Marine Patrol and boats from Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary also looked for Coconut Harry.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press

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