A family boating in Northern Michigan is thankful to have their dog back after it fell from a boat into Lake Michigan over the weekend.
The dog, Riley, was with her owners, Ed and Kristen Casas, about six miles from the Manitou Islands. But the boat had some electrical problems, forcing the couple to exit the cabin of the boat.
“In retrospect I remember her coming out here to see where I was going,” Kristen said. “My poor assumption was that she would go back into the cabin with her dad.”
About 10 minutes went by before Ed realized the dog wasn’t with him.
“We assumed she went overboard,” he said. “Did a mayday call for a dog overboard.”
Several fishermen and even the coast guard helped the couple search for their pet for several hours without luck.
That’s when Lynn Fiedor heard what was happening.
Fiedor runs the “Lost Dog Search Team” in Michigan and uses social media to track them down.
She posted the search on Facebook and soon, hundreds of people were keeping their eyes out for Riley.
“We ended up having over 20,000 people look at our post online and when I saw that, I was like…we’re going to find their dog.”
One report said a boater saw a dog swimming off shore in Empire.
Ed and Kristen headed out there and talked to campers who saw her.
“Our optimism grew,” he said, “and we found her in 15 minutes.”
In all, it’s estimated that Riley swam nearly 6 miles to shore and traveled more than a dozen miles by foot.
Ed and Kristin say they owe the dog’s safe return to Lynn, who made her way up to Leland Monday to see the dog she helped get back to her family.
“We have a happy ending,” Fiedor said. “It’s the reason we do what we do.”