Mason Ringer, 24, and two of his coworkers wanted to have a little fun while on their lunch break. The three men were working on refurbishing a dock on the Okatie River, South Carolina, and as respite from their labor, decided to take a boat ride.
Despite the winds and choppy waters, the ride was going well. But when one of the men tried to stand up inside of the boat, the vessel capsized and all three were swept away by the current.
The other two men on the boat managed to reach land, but Mason Ringer was unable to get back to the dock they’d launched from.
One of the men was able to swim back to shore, while the other was found nearly hypothermic and stuck in a marsh by a passerby. Ringer, a father of two young boys, wasn’t as lucky.
He kicked off his shoes as his feet began to cramp and shed his sweatshirt as it became too heavy with water. He still wasn’t able to make any progress towards reaching the shore.
Ringer frantically yelled for help as he tried to make his way to the shore. After an hour in the water he’d all but given up trying to swim.
“I rolled over on my back and I closed my eyes and said a prayer to God asking him to help me somehow,” Ringer told Inside Edition.
Then he let out his final plea.
“I yelled ‘help’ one more time, and the next thing you know the dog is in the water coming at me,” Ringer told the Island Packet.
Woody, a 7-year-old Yellow Labrador, had jumped from another dock after realizing Ringer was in trouble.
Well…today was one I won't be forgetting for a long while! Tim Helm (Oldfield's Security Director), Jeremy Webb (my…
“He gets right up to me, pretty much right in my face, and kind of barks a little bit and spun around and threw his tail at me,” Ringer said.
Woody started to paddle back towards the shore with Ringer in tow. But with the cold, and weakened from the exhaustive ordeal, Ringer lost his grip.
Woody paddled back and offered his collar. With Ringer hanging on for dear life, the dog swam all the way back to a dock only a few feet from where the capsized boat had launched.
“I was able to get my arm around its collar and he took me all the way to the dock. It was a miracle,” Ringer said.
Moments later, a boat captained by Oldfield Outfitters Center Director Jason DuBose approached and found Ringer standing on the dock with Woody beside him.
“That dog was sticking to him like glue,” DuBose told the Island Packet.
All three men made it back to land. Ringer’s rescue was the most dramatic, and he has Woody to thank for his survival.
When he capsized his boat, Woody the dog was there. 🐕
Woody lives in Savannah, Georgia, with Susan Atkinson and her family. The Atkinson family happened to be on a piece of family land near the incident when Woody heard Ringer’s cries for help.
Atkinson believes Woody was by the water because he likes to jump in and pick up rocks. She also said he is normally very shy, but wasn’t surprised to hear of his heroism.
“He’s got bravery in other ways,” Atkinson told the Island Packet.
Nobody believes that more than Ringer, who wants to meet the dog again and thank him properly for saving his life on March 21.
“I was going to buy the dog the biggest steak I could find on Friday,” Ringer said.