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Family Dog Survives 98 Days on Deserted New Jersey Island

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale — a tail, really — about a brave beagle and a family's refusal to give up.

Buddy, a 4-year-old beagle, was reunited with his New Jersey family on Monday after 98 days spent on unihabited Gull Island in New Jersey's Manasquan Inlet. The Kelleys, of Eatontown, N.J., lost control of Buddy on Aug. 31 as the family attempted to switch the dog's leash while frolicking on Dog Beach in Manasquan.

Two months later, Buddy — who had lost so much weight he was little more than skin and bones — was spotted along railroad tracks near the deserted island.

"The Coast Guard said they had seen him digging in the sand," Edith Kelley told FoxNews.com. "He might've been looking for clams or sand crabs."

Exactly how the dog survived is unclear, but Kelley said Coast Guard officials told her the dog might have survived on dead seagulls found on the island. But by the time a local man, "Muskrat" Jack Neary, successfully trapped Buddy on Monday, the once-35-pound dog had dropped to just 19 pounds.

Kelley's husband, Charles, said he still can't fathom how Buddy made it back home.

"I'm still walking around in a funk, it's hard to believe," he told FoxNews.com. "I mean, is this true? It's hard to believe."

Edith Kelley, whose son Patrick cares for Buddy, said the family is simply "ecstatic" to be reunited with their "miracle" dog.

"I couldn't believe it — after 98 days," she said. "And he's behaving like he never left. He didn't go feral."