How ‘wonder dog’ survived two days in croc-infested river
IT'S a story that will be told for years to come in the Dunn household.
Degarra fisherman Billy Dunn has recalled the details of how his 10-year-old cattle dog, Maggie, spent two days tirelessly paddling in the crocodile-infested Bloomfield River after she was washed off their back porch by Australia Day floodwaters.
Remarkably, she returned unharmed 48 hours later, earning her the nickname 'Maggie the Wonder Dog'.
"It was about midnight - she just jumped on the bed and was a bit wet," Mr Dunn recalled of the Australia Day monsoon.
"My wife yelled out at the dog, then got out of bed and there was about six inches of water in the bedroom.
"Maggie had run out to the veranda and got caught in the flood water."
At the time, Billy was working in Cooktown and his wife was home alone with Maggie.
Their house was one of the eight flooded in the small suburb, which has a population of 30 residents.
The Dunns believe Maggie bravely swam back up the Bloomfield River, spotted a light from a house on a nearby hill and headed straight to it.
Mr Dunn was amazed by her tale of survival and admitted they had given up hope of finding her.
"Maggie somehow got back through the bloody jungle … it took her about two days to swim back with the tides going out and coming back in," he said.
"Right on cue, our house was flooded and our dog was done - it was the last straw.
"But when we got our dog back, it was time for us to get back on the road to recovery.
"She has never been that clean in her life."
Billy and his wife Michelle have lived in Degarra, located at the northern end of the Bloomfield Track near Wujal Wujal, for about 40 years.
Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu and council visited the Dunns last week, hearing many stories of the flood affected community during a catch-up with residents on their veranda.
"Maggie is definitely the hero of Degarra," Cr Leu said.
"That event was the third disaster activation for our shire in six weeks and the impact on our residents and businesses has not been lost.
"It is important to let everyone know that while Douglas Shire is recovering, the region is still a must-do destination that is well and truly open for business.
Fresh from the rain, now is when the rainforest is really thriving, the Reef is absolutely spectacular and you really get to enjoy this little piece of paradise."
Cr Leu also visited Daintree Village, where they spoke to residents under a mango tree near the Daintree Hall.