Puppy swims six miles, walks 12 more to find family

Updated: August 31, 2016
Puppy swims six miles, walks 12 more to find family

Puppy swims six miles to reunite with owners after falling off boat.

A 10-month-old puppy swam more than 6 miles in the choppy waters of Lake Michigan, then walked another 12 miles to be reunited with her family in a campground after falling overboard during a family boating outing Sunday.

Edward Casas, 56, told ABC News that his son’s puppy, Rylee, must have fallen overboard when he when he was in the boat’s engine room trying to figure out what had caused the boat to stall.

The family, visiting northern Michigan from Illinois, had been gone from the harbor at Frankfort for about 10 minutes Sunday and were headed toward the Manitou Islands when they encountered engine trouble, according to a post on UpNorthLive.com.

Kristin Casas was in the cabin with the Belgian Malinois puppy when her husband said he needed her to steer the boat while he talked on the phone with a mechanic to resolve the problem.

“In retrospect, I remember her coming out here to see where I was going,” Kristin Casas said. “My poor assumption was that she would go back into the cabin with her dad.”

Kristin Casas told WITI-TV she noticed the Belgian Malinois puppy had joined her near the wheel to see where the boat was headed, but “my poor assumption was that she would go back to the cabin with her dad.”

“Our hearts just sank,” Edward Casas told ABC. “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.”

The Casas’ put out a “dog overboard” call on the radio. Several fishermen and the U.S. Coast Guard in Frankfort joined the search. No one found her.

Lynn Fiedor, whose husband was among the fishermen looking for Rylee, put a post on her Lost Dog Search Team and For the Louie Michigan Lost Pet Lookers Facebook pages. The Facebook groups normally concentrate on pets lost in southeast Michigan, but made an exception to find Rylee.