A trainee search dog got an early test when she fell overboard in Lake Michigan, 10 kilometres from shore.
Rylee – a Belgian Malinois puppy – toppled over as owners Edward and Kristin Casas, from Illinois, USA, sailed the boat unawares.
Rylee was out of their sight for 10 minutes. When they realized she’d disappeared, they put out a “Dog Overboard” Mayday call over the radio.
Lynn Fiedor took the call and posted on her Lost Dog Search Team Facebook page – along with a $5,000 reward for information.
20,000 people saw the post online, and within hours, hundreds were searching for the pup – including fishermen and locals with drone cameras.
Rylee was spotted swimming off shore before being rescued by a fisherman. He let her loose on the beach, but she ran off before he could tie-up his boat.
Rylee hiked a further 20 kilometres before being found. By this point, the Casas’s were searching for her in a truck borrowed by a generous local.
Rylee was missing 24 hours before she was reunited with her happy owners. Fiedor says, “She’s a very strong swimmer. This dog is amazing and the love that this family has for her is amazing.”
Fiedor describes the scene when the Casas’s saw their pup again. “They were excited…They said it was the first time he [Edward] has cried in a long time.”
Don’t worry Ed, Rylee’s tough enough for everyone.
Pics and quotes from The Star.