Some dogs love to swim, but they might not realize the consequences of taking an unattended dip in the ocean. Over-eager dogs get swept up by ocean currents and take ill-advised leaps off of boats more than you’d think.
Case in point: a group of friends in Florida were out enjoying their boat when they saw a rather unusual sea creature. Somehow, a Jack Russell Terrier was swimming beside them, with no other boats in sight in the middle of the ocean.
Without thinking twice, one of the boaters leapt into the ocean after the pup. He then swam him over to the boat, and the whole incident was captured on video.
Since the dog had a collar with tags, they knew he must be missed by somebody and not just abandoned or thrown into the ocean. He was not, however, wearing a life vest, so his little legs must have been exhausted from treading. According to those tags, this boy’s name is Zuko, and he’s just a puppy.
Once the dog set foot on the boat, he shook himself dry and gratefully leaned into the arms of his saviors. They immediately abandoned their day at sea to seek out this dog’s family, who were likely devastated.
Watch the surprising ocean rescue on TikTok below:
No, The Video Wasn’t Staged
In a follow-up video on her TikTok channel, @bryncrowell, the videographer, explained what happened after they got Zuko onto the boat:
“We called the number on his tag, went 20 minutes to the next inlet, and returned him. The owners were crying and thankful he was safe, gave us $300 for gas to get there and as a thank you. Was 100% not staged and we are happy we saw him and were able to save him.”
Despite the miracle that occurred here and the kindness of Zuko’s rescuers, haters always gonna hate. In response to skeptical viewers who accused the TikTok user of “staging” the rescue by throwing the dog into the water, @bryncrowell uploaded screenshots of her texts with Zuko’s owners.
The dog’s parents explained how quickly he fell off the boat (a 60 footer,) and that they frantically searched for him when they realized. Everyone aboard genuinely worried about what could have happened to Zuko.
“Once we noticed he was missing we all searched the boat thinking he was hiding in one of the rooms with his bone… So then we kept going up and down where we had traveled trying to retrace our path but we had no luck…”
Many Jack Russell parents jumped into the comments to emphasize what an energetic and curious breed they are (essentially by design.) Others note that the owners made a mistake, but they shouldn’t necessarily be condemned for that.
“I have a Jack Russell. I can confirm they are insane and it is 100% believable dog ran & swam away chasing something. They’re intense!” – @Peeeedro via TikTok
“We all make mistakes. So easy [to] judge. I’m so glad you rescued their dog & were able to return the pup. Jack Russells are notorious for running off.” – @Kenji via TikTok
A Clean Bill Of Health For A Lucky Dog
Once Zuko was safely back in his family’s arms, they brought him to the vet. The vet recommended lots of water in case he ingested too much salt out there. Otherwise, Zuko is perfectly healthy and unperturbed.
It seems clear this pup’s parents regret what happened and will keep a watchful eye going forward. As many have noted in the wake of this incident, there are special floatation and visibility vests dogs can wear when out on the water. This allows you to easily spot them and keeps them from getting tired while swimming.
To me, this video shows human kindness and a dog’s resilience. Take note, though, Jack Russell parents!