Pets & Animals

Missing dog reunited with family after tumbling overboard during boat trip

An Illinois family is holding their 10-month-old puppy a little closer after a frightening 24 hours apart.

Edward, 56, and Kristin Casas, 49, were celebrating their 29th anniversary by boating on Lake Michigan when they encountered a mechanical issue. While the couple was distracted, frantically trying to repair the boat, Rylee, the newest addition to their family, tumbled overboard.

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Kristin says Rylee has grown up knowing her way around the boat and has never jumped off without permission, but it's possible that her high confidence in navigating the craft (and doing it so well) became a factor.

"She has not learned how to climb ladders yet, but it appears that she believed she could scale the tower ladder to the drive controls in her attempt to follow me," she said.

In doing so, Rylee likely slipped and fell overboard.

Almost immediately, Edward called in a "mayday dog overboard" alert. And to their surprise, the response was more than they could've hoped for.

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As it turned out, the wife of a local fisherman, Lynn Fiedor, happened to run the Lost Dog Search Team, a local volunteer organization that helps find and reunite lost dogs with their families.

In an even more amazing stroke of luck, only 30 minutes elapsed from the time the "mayday" cry was broadcast to the time that Fiedor contacted Ed on his cell phone.

"She would do everything that she could to assist us," Kristin said.

Fiedor told Ed that dogs often swim towards the wind, away from the shore line.

The Casas attribute the dog's rescue to Fiedor entirely.

"Unequivocally, without a doubt in my mind, we would not have found Rylee without Lynn's assistance."

With Fiedor's help (and a Facebook post), tons of locals were alerted to the news of the missing dog. Shortly after, Rylee was seen by a boater and the Casas made their way to her purported location.

Courtesy of Kristin Casas
Rylee travels back home after being separated from her family.

When they arrived, Lynn saw something move behind her. "I turned and looked and I saw Rylee!" she said.

Soon enough, the happy family was reunited again.

"She jumped on me — licking my face, crying, hugging me, and laying and rolling on me. It can only be described as sheer joy, gratitude and love."

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