Five months after rehabilitation, a New England green sea turtle once rescued by a Newfoundland dog has been released back into the waters of Assateague State Park in Maryland.
In early January, an observant 2-year-old dog named Veda spotted a stranded loggerhead turtle while strolling with her owners on a nearby beach.
After being treated at the New England Aquarium's sea turtle hospital, the green sea turtle — named Newfie after the breed of its hero — was among nine sea turtles brought to Maryland for safe release.
Officials from the New England Aquarium said a strong storm in January had washed debris onto Ellisville Beach. Among the pile carried on the shore was Newfie the 40-pound loggerhead turtle.
Had Veda not spotted the turtle while inspecting seaweed, aquarium officials say the marine animal would not have survived for more than a few hours because of further exposure to the sub 20-degree temperatures at the beach.
As it turns out, Veda accidentally sat at the pile of seaweed and then saw the turtle. The 120-pound dog alerted her owners, Leah and Brad Bares, to the creature's presence by lying down near the water.
Newfoundland dogs like Veda have become known for rescuing fishermen, but saving a sea turtle may be a first, experts say.
The Bares couple asked the help of William Gray, a volunteer for Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, to carry the green sea turtle to the New England Aquarium's sea turtle hospital.
Newfie the sea turtle had hypothermia and required several months of intense care and rehabilitation. The animal's temperature steadily increased after four days at the sea turtle hospital.
Cisco Kid's Story
Meanwhile, Newfie was not the only sea turtle released back into the wild after treatment.
In Marineland, Florida, a juvenile green sea turtle named Cisco Kid was carried into the Atlantic Ocean after months of laser treatment.
The green sea turtle suffered from anemia and had to undergo a series of laser surgeries to remove large tumors that it developed. It was the first green sea turtle ever released by the staff at the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory Sea Turtle Hospital.
According to Brooke Burkhalte, Cisco Kid's veterinarian who carried the turtle to the shore, the marine animal frantically paddled long before it paddled the waves. And then it was free.
Jessica Long, a spokesperson for Whitney Laboratory, hopes that Cisco Kid will stay healthy and well because although science has helped it escape a serious disease, the rest is up to nature.
"It could come back," says Long. "If the immune system of the turtle is compromised, it could come back again."
Watch the video below.