Edward and Kristin Casas went boating on Lake Michigan on Sunday when they they encountered a mechanical problem.
While the couple was in the engine room figuring out the issue, their 10-month-old puppy, Rylee, must have fallen overboard.
“Our hearts just sank,” Edward told ABC News. “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.”
Edward immediately made a “mayday dog overboard” call over the radio.
One of several fishermen who responded to the call connected Edward to his wife, Lynn Fiedor, who runs a volunteer group in the area called the Lost Dog Search Team.
“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. She explained that she called the local sheriff’s office, park rangers, Coast Guard and even posted an alert to her group’s Facebook page.
Though no one had reported seeing Rylee Sunday evening, Fiedor said hope came in the form of a call the following morning.
“A lady said she had seen the dog going into the Platte River Campground,” Fiedor said. “It was amazing. She literally swam over six miles and walked over 12 miles more through the woods.”
Fiedor immediately alerted Edward and Kristin about the sighting, and the couple was able to drive to the campground area. Fiedor then explained the best ways to attract lost dogs and had the couple mark their scent around the truck before lying down with Rylee’s food and toys.
Just a little while after Edward started squeaking one of Rylee’s favorite toys while laying on the ground, the exhausted pup emerged from woods and joyfully greeted at them.
“Let me tell you, I’m not the kind of guy that cries but oh did this make me cry,” Edward said of the reunion. “I am so proud of this dog and so proud of and grateful for Lynn [Fiedor].”