In the waters off Sarasota County, a beloved dog fell overboard during a nasty storm. The owner thought he would never see his best friend again. Instead, he was shocked to find out what happened next.
Shane Hale had a dream of sailing with his best friend to the Keys and across the Caribbean. But it quickly turned into a nightmare.
Hale and his dog Harley set sail on Saturday.
“He’s my best friend, I was going to take him sailing around the Caribbean with me. I didn’t want anybody else to go but him,” said Hale.
Shane and Harley had been inseparable for the past five years until that evening when the storm turned.
“It was throwing me off the boat, and throwing me back on slamming me back on the boat, throwing me off the boat, slamming me back on the boat,” said Hale.
Harley fell into the water.
“I could see his head bobbing behind the boat, the swells, I don’t want to seem like an exaggerating kind of guy but I think they were nearly 10 feet swells,” said Hale.
The storm was too powerful, and the boat was too damaged. Harley was gone.
“I got to his tether and when I pulled the tether, I realized there wasn’t enough weight on the end of that tether for a dog to be on there, sure enough I pull it out and I just see his life jacket,” he said.
“I laid there for the rest of the storm and I prayed for Harley, and I prayed for me,” he said.
“I didn’t think my dog was a living dog. I’m not going to be that guy who’s gonna sit here and baloney anybody. When he went off the boat and I see the way he went, I never in a million years expected to see my dog again.”
When Hale came to shore, he put out a plea for help on Facebook.
The next day, he got a phone call. Harley was found alive!
He swam three miles in choppy waters to a nearby beach.
“I didn’t think that he could make a journey like that, those were huge waves that day,” he said.
Hale calls it a miracle.
His sailing days are now behind him.
“I can’t sail again because I couldn’t go without my dog and I would never make my dog get on a boat again. I couldn’t do that for my dog,” he said.
The dog had a slight case of pneumonia but the vet says he’s expected to make a full recovery.