Dog Falls Overboard, Swims More Than 6 Miles Back To Shore To Reunite With Family

You think you’re having a tough week?

Consider the case of Rylee, a 10-month-old Belgian Malinois. She went out for a boat ride on Lake Michigan with her humans Edward and Kristin Karas—and fell overboard! She then swam six miles and walked 12 more to be reunited (somehow!) with her family the next day.

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It seems Edward was down below fixing a mechanical problem while his wife was steering the boat, and that’s when trouble hit.

“Our hearts just sank,” Edward told Good Morning America/Yahoo News about the moment they realized she was gone. “We were gone for maybe 10 minutes, and then we couldn’t find her anywhere on the boat and she was nowhere to be seen in the water.” He then quickly made a “Mayday Dog Overboard” distress call.

A fisherman who heard the call connected the two with his wife Lynn Fiedor, who runs a local Lost Dog Search Team rescue group. Fiedor learned that Rylee was training to be a rescue dog, and knew her breed is known for its high degree of intelligence and athleticism. Wikipedia says “Well-raised and trained Malinois are usually active, intelligent, friendly, protective, alert and hard-working. Belgian Malinois exhibit energy levels that are among the highest of all dog breeds.” (It should come as no surprise, then, that this is the breed of dog the Secret Service uses on the grounds of the White House.)

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Fiedor said that she had no doubt in her mind the pup would find her way back to shore.

“From there, it was just a matter of getting the word out as much as I could so that everyone in the area would be looking for this dog when she got to shore,” Fiedor said. Additionally, she put the emergency word out to the area sheriff’s office, park rangers, Coast Guard and her group’s Facebook page.

Monday morning, Fiedor got a call saying a dog had been spotted heading in to the Platte River Campground. The Karases borrowed the harbormaster’s truck to meet and greet Rylee at the campground. Lost Dog gave everyone the great news, in CAPITAL LETTERS:

We have GREAT NEWS!!! IT IS CONFIRMED: RYLEE IS FOUND!! She is now with her owners again… We will have details to come. THANK YOU EVERYONE for sharing and spreading the word about this sweet, strong girl. LDST is Ecstatic.

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*Note: The Lost Dog Rescue Team is 100 percent volunteer. If you’d care to make a donation to help fund their efforts, check out their FB page.