Baby's Story: A dog rescued from Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Baby's Story: A dog rescued from Tampa Bay

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It's a tale of survival, of will and of love. About 7:30 Thursday morning, a fisherman in Tampa Bay saw an amazing sight. A small dog paddled for its life in 68 degree water, two miles from shore. The fisherman brought the dog, named Baby into Demens Landing, where Tony Basile took her onto his boat.

"She's turned my life upside down", Basile said. He was going to the marina to pay his rent when he ran into the fisherman, wrapped a towel around Baby, brought her onto his boat and hugged the shaking dog tightly to his chest. As soon as he did that, she stopped shaking. Basile and a friend stayed up with Baby for ten hours while the dog calmed down. He admits he didn't think she'd make it.

"She's finally starting to come around", Basile said. "We got her to start drinking and eat some food. She's in need of a good cleaning, but she's totally bonded to me. I can't take a step off the boat and she'll start screaming and yelling. I walk with her; she stays right by my side. I need to get her back to her owners as quick as possible".

And Baby does belong to someone. A personalized collar alludes to that. The dog is micro-chipped, but was reported missing two years ago. However, the search for the owner continues. Suzy Johnson, one of her caretakers, assumes Baby fell overboard at night and nobody even knew it. Basile thinks she may have been in Tampa Bay up to eight hours. A local veterinary hospital has posted photos of the dog and hopes word mouth will lead to a happy ending for Baby.

When asked if this was a miracle, Basile responded, “I don't know how she made it through this. It's truly not possible. But she did it, somehow. She was out two miles".

Basile said he's been a dog owner in the past, but had animals stolen from him, while others died, so he's reluctant to keep Baby, especially with the ongoing search for her owners. But clearly, the dog, which is walking with a limp with an injured right rear leg, has stolen his heart.

"I bonded with her quite strongly", Basile said. "She's totally relying on me, she can't do anything for herself, it's just pathetic. You try to look at her and she looks at my eyes, with those big brown eyes. It's sad, it's really sad. It makes you melt bad, but there's not much I can do except try to find the people that she belongs to. And hopefully, they'll show up. It's really hard to deal with, very hard to deal with. I just try to show her love, take care of her, show her that someone cares about her. Let her feel like, she's OK."

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