WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They’re called “man’s best friend” for a reason.
When John Dolan of Bay Shore was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital for skin ulcers, he said his dog “Zander” became very depressed.
“My wife had told me the dog is moping around,” Dolan told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall on Thursday.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story
Dolan said his wife also told him Zander was sitting in his bed curled up in a ball and howling.
“He will always remember John brought him home from the shelter and I think that is where the loyalty comes from,” Priscilla Dolan told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
The white husky managed to sneak out of their house and, amazingly, ran two miles to the hospital in West Islip.
“It’s not just houses. 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,” John Dolan said. “There’s a stream in there somewhere he had to go across.”
A hospital worker found the dog outside and called the number on his collar. John’s cell phone rang while he was in a hospital bed.
“[The worker said] ‘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 Good Sam.’ I’m like, ‘I can’t go and get him. I’m in the hospital myself,'” he said.
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.
“Some of them seem to have a special human-animal bond that leads them that way, whether it’s a sixth sense,” veterinarian Dr. John Charos told McLogan.
Animal experts said there is research to indicate that dogs can act on their depression. John Dolan said that theory rings true to him.
“I think he missed me and he decided, ‘this is it, I’m going to get him,'” he said.
Priscilla Dolan picked up the dog and John said that when he was released from the hospital, he played with Zander for hours.
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