That’s what happened earlier this month to Roy O’Connor in the Gulf of Mexico near Siesta Key, Fla. O’Connor, who lives in Bellingham, Wash., often makes videos of his kayaking adventures. A camera attached to his kayak captured the Vizsla paddling in the water, and O’Connor pulling him aboard.
“He was shaking a lot. He had a bunch of wounds on his leg and was bleeding,” O’Connor told the New York Daily News.
Assuming the dog must have fallen into the water, O’Connor asked people on a nearby boat if they’d lost a dog. They hadn’t, so he paddled to shore and met his sister, who took the dog to a vet.
In a tragic twist, it turned out the microchipped dog, named Barney, belonged to Donna Chen of Sarasota, Fla. The two had been jogging on the sidewalk together when Chen was struck by a drunk driver and died instantly. Although he was injured, Barney managed to run a mile from the accident scene and then swim a half-mile into the Gulf of Mexico.
“I think Barney coming back to us was a total miracle,” Chen’s husband, Dr. Wellington Chen, told ABC Action News.
Diane Eduardo, Chen’s sister, told ABC Action News that the animal hospital called just as police arrived to tell her Chen had been killed. “It was so strange,” she said. “The vets are calling to come pick up Barney.”
Dr. Chen said the drunk driver, Blake Talman, was going about 90 miles per hour when he hit Chen, and missed Barney by only inches. He said he has nothing to say to Talman, who was booked into the Sarasota County Jail. But he does want to talk to O’Connor “and just give him a big hearty thank you for all he did.”
“I think a higher power lead Barney to where he needed to be,” Eduardo said, “because out of this horrible tragedy, there is something remarkable that happened. Her puppy is alive.”