Dog, Missing Two Years, Found Treading Water a Mile Offshore
Last week, fishermen on Tampa Bay in Florida noticed something downright odd bobbing just above the surface of the water, about a mile or so from shore: a dog's snout.
It was connected to a dog, treading water, and not very well -- it looked like she was ready to go under.
"On the horizon they could see just her nose sticking out of the water," boater Anthony Basile told Fox 13.
The fishermen hauled her aboard and motored back to St. Petersburg's Demen's Landing, where Basile, who has a boat docked there, took the lead in caring for the dog. She was named Baby -- it said so right on her collar.
"I put towels on her. Warm towels on her, put the heat on in the boat. She shook for 10 hours straight," he said. "When we first found her, I didn't think she was going to live. I would just pet her and feed her by hand, and give her water. It took all night."
After that rocky first night, Baby bonded fast with Basile and didn't want to leave his sight. Basile took the dog to a vet, who discovered a microchip. And the mystery deepened. The dog did have an owner, but she hadn't been seen in quite some time -- Baby had been reported missing two years ago.
Two years missing, and then she turns up treading water a mile offshore?
The phone numbers on the chip, however, brought bad news -- one led to a man who said that Baby belonged to his sister in St. Petersburg, who died two months ago. He also said the family thought a friend was caring for the dog.
But it has worked out fine for Baby. According to Fox 13, she now has a wonderful new home -- not with Basile but with Kathy Klein and her husband. After they had read a story about the dog in the news, they got in the car, headed to Home Depot, bought a dog bed, a dog blanket and a dog jacket, and headed to the marina. They intended to simply donate the items, but once they met the dog, that plan changed.
"Initially, I wanted to just go meet the people that were so kind to rescue her," she told Fox 13. "I went and got a dog bed and a blanket and a dog coat because I knew it was going to get cold. I bathed her and cut all the mats out of her hair, and one thing led to another."
Kathy hit it off with Baby, calming the frightened dog and snuggling up to her on the boat.
"She and the dog totally bonded," one of the people caring for the dog at the marina said. "She's an absolute dog whisperer."
Baby went home with Kathy, and with the blessing of the former owner's brother. One of the people who cared for the dog suggested she change Baby's name to Gracie.
"Purely by the grace of God did she survive all of this," Kathy said, "and I said I love that name."
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