A 10-month-old puppy recently pulled off an amazing stunt for the love of family.
Rylee and her humans, Edward Casas, 56, and his wife, 49-year-old Kristin, were boating on Lake Michigan when it happened: the couple was busy keeping afloat during an engine problem that they failed to notice that Rylee was no longer on the boat.
Edward believed the Belgian Malinois must have fallen overboard while he was down in the engine room. The couple’s 18-year-old son Colin, who was away at college, technically owned the pup and would be devastated to know that she had been lost.
“Our hearts just sank,” Edward said. “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 said he immediately made a “‘mayday dog overboard’ call over the radio.”
Lynn Fiedor, who runs a volunteer group in the area called the Lost Dog Search Team, was one of the first to assist the couple.
When she learned Rylee was training to be a search-and-rescue dog and that she was a Belgian Malinois — a working breed known for its intelligence and athleticism — 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. 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.
The following morning, Fiedor received a lead that sounded too good to be true. “A lady said she had seen the dog going into the Platte River Campground,” Fiedor said. “It was amazing. [Rylee] literally swam over six miles and walked over 12 miles more through the woods.”
Fiedor then took a borrowed truck to the campsite, and had Edward and Kristin mark their scent around it before lying down with Rylee’s food and toys. She then instructed Kristin to lie down on the ground and pretend she was hurt. Just a little while after Edward started squeaking one of Rylee’s toys, the pup emerged from woods and kissed her owners.
Edward said there was a lot of sobbing and hugging. “Let me tell you, I’m not the kind of guy that cries but oh did this make me cry,” he said. “I am so proud of this dog and so proud of and grateful for Lynn [Fiedor].”