Harper is a very sweet little dog, but her shyness often leads her to be nervous when she meets new situations or people.
It all happened when Erin O’Donnell, the woman who adopted her in 2017, had to perform with the Brooklyn Irish Dance Company in Manhattan and left Harper in Brooklyn with friends and a trusted dog sitter. But while the dog sitter was out with Harper for a walk, a taxi ignored a stop and hit the man and the dog. Fortunately, they both suffered only minor injuries, but the four-legged got so frightened that she ran away, reached the East River and jumped into the river.
Still panicked, people on the shore initially thought it was just a dog that was having a swim with a nearby owner, but they soon realised that it wasn’t like that at all: “I was at the Brooklyn Barge to celebrate my birthday when we saw a dog swim – said Gabe Castellanos in a post on Instagram – The day was hot and a good swim seemed like a good idea. We imagined that the owner was on shore and was checking it, until a man in a panicked voice started shouting that the dog had escaped”.
At that moment everyone noticed that the four-legged animal was slowing down. With the river very cold and the tiredness and the panic, that dog would not have been able to stay afloat for long.
Castellanos, who graduated from SUNY Maritime College and has a great experience of survival in water, decided to intervene: “Since it was clear that the little dog could not get back to shore, something had to be done. I searched the barge for any type of equipment to use and noticed that there was a life jacket, so I grabbed it”.
Among the people who witnessed the rescue was also Lorenzo Fonda, a director and artist from Brooklyn, who decided to film it all and publish it on some videos on Twitter.
yesterday i was at the Brooklyn Barge and a dog ended up in the river, here’s my account: pic.twitter.com/ym9Tn57uyE
— Lorenzo Fonda (@lorenzo_fonda) May 5, 2019
Harper was still swimming at a steady pace and the man had to swim vigorously to reach it. Indeed, as soon as the little dog realised that someone was swimming towards her, she was even more overcome by panic and tried to swim away from the unknown. When the man finally reached the animal and brought him back to shore, the people present let themselves go to a clap of joy.
The two were exhausted and needed medical checkups to make sure everything was okay, but luckily they were both fine and are now recovering in their respective homes. Only later did Harper’s owner find out what had happened: “Her paws are in bad shape, so for a few weeks she will need to wear some shoes, but otherwise she is in excellent spirits – the woman says – It’s definitely exciting to see all these people in the Brooklyn Barge video and on social media expressing their solidarity with Harper and praising Gabe, who certainly saved the situation.”