STOCKTON - A dog reportedly stranded for weeks on a delta island has been rescued.
A terrier mix trapped on an island in Fourteen Mile Slough, next to Stockton, has been given a new lease on life.
Animal lovers have been waiting all week to find out what would happen to the ragged-looking, little dog trapped on the island since at least April when he was first spotted.
The dog would appear on an isolated beach, then disappear back into thick, almost impenetrable brush. Stockton Animal Services began working with San Joaquin Country sheriff's deputies earlier in the week, with a plan to set out traps at high tide, to avoid drowning the dog if he were to be caught.
At the same time, Donald Wesley of Fair Oaks was placing his own trap on the island and swimming out to check it at least twice a day since Wednesday. Wesley had heard about the story from a friend in Brazil who saw the story online.
Early Friday afternoon, as he was swimming near the island, he heard the dog.
"I've heard it and there's paw prints everywhere," Wesley said. "I just heard it about 30 minutes ago."
A couple of hours later he spotted the dog inside one of the traps. A retired Stockton police officer offered to pick the dog up with his boat and in another hour, the dog was at Stockton's Animal Services Shelter.
"He was co-existing. He doesn't have any wounds. No lacerations. You know, other than being flea infested, his body is in remarkably good shape. Very long toenails when he came in," Stockton Animal Services' Tammie Murrell said.
Because he's clearly been an island dog for awhile, one volunteer worker at animal services decided to name the terrier mix Jimmy Buffett.
Jimmy has no microchip and no dog collar, and he's still a little skittish as he gets used to being back in the human world. He was given a bath and sprayed for fleas. He seemed very comfortable as Murrell held him in her arms.
"You know, it just says a lot about humans and their relationship with animals. He is a very nice dog and people wanted to do right by him," Murrell said.
When asked what prompted him to invest so much time trying to find Jimmy, Wesley thought for a moment.
"I mean, what else is there? It's a dog's life," he said, and then laughed.
"He'll probably go home with a foster for a few nights just to get acclimated, see how he does in a home at night," Murrell said. "He may need a little bit of training because he hasn't been around humans very much."
After a four-day waiting period to see if someone shows up with proof of ownership, Jimmy will be put up for adoption.
There have been plenty of offers already.