The gray seal pup found trekking the roads of Cape Elizabeth during a snowstorm in January was returned to the sea off Phippsburg Thursday, and he had a flippered female friend with him.

The male seal, formerly known as No. 6 but named Dexxy by donors who sponsored his care, had three encounters with Cape Elizabeth police early on the morning of Jan. 23 before being picked up by Marine Mammals of Maine. Just weeks old, the undernourished pup was treated at the Bath rehabilitation facility and then trained for life in the wild.

During Dexxy’s training, he met a female seal pup, dubbed Sunshine by her sponsors, who was found in the front yard of a Cape Elizabeth home just a week before his own adventure on land. Sunshine was released at Head Beach alongside Dexxy about 11 a.m. Thursday.

“It just kind of worked out in their rehab process,” said Lynda Doughty, executive director of Marine Mammals of Maine. “They ended up being in the same pool together because they were doing the best out of the animals that we had in our care.”

Dexxy, the seal who was wandering Cape Elizabeth streets three times during a January snowstorm, is pictured then in the inset at upper left, and as a healthier pup now. Contributed / Lynda Doughty

Dexxy learned how to catch fish and, hopefully, how not to venture on the roads at 1:30 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm.

“Most of the time those animals have more time out in the wild to figure out that, when they come up on land or shore to rest, they’re going to run into houses or people,” Doughty said.


Seal pups often leave their mothers within weeks of being born, as did the two rescued in Cape Elizabeth. Pups need extra time during this “weaning period” to learn routine tasks, like catching fish in Dexxy’s case, Doughty said. Both seals are now about 2 months old.

Sunshine, a female seal found on a Cape Elizabeth resident’s property a week prior to Dexxy’s adventure, in her then, upper right, and now photos.

Underweight when she arrived at the Bath facility, Sunshine was prepped for life in the sea, too, but was slowed down by respiratory issues that required antibiotics. Her release initially was expected to be later than Dexxy’s, but an accelerated recovery led to them being released together, Doughty said.

To add to the two seals’ already fateful journey, Dexxy will have his movements tracked by Marine Mammals of Maine.

“We wanted to put a tag on a male gray seal this season, so we’ll be able to track his movements in real time once he’s released,” Doughty said. “We don’t always get that option, so it just happened to work out that this animal’s actually going to get a tag.”

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