A pit bull was found clinging desperately on the side of a cement barrier after falling into a river in Tampa, Florida. After the police arrived, they saw an enormous underwater creature swimming behind the poor pooch.
Tampa residents heard strange sounds coming from the Hillsborough River Friday night, and the next day found that a dog had fallen into the river and was struggling to climb out, on the side of a steep concrete barrier.
They then called for rescue and Tampa Police Department’s Marine Patrol unit responded.
When the officers arrived, they found the dog, named White Boy, clinging to the wall. But there was something else in the water, swimming below the surface. The police realized it was a manatee! It seemed to them that the marine mammal was keeping watch over the poor pooch and making sure he was okay.
The 30-year Marine Patrol unit veteran Randy Lopez used a resident’s extension ladder to grab the dog. Upon descending down the ladder, he saw the manatee turn away and swim off.
It was just there “keeping him company,” said Officer Randy Lopez. “I’m sure consoling him, telling him it’s going to be alright, it’s going to be alright.”
“They’re curious by nature so I’m sure the sound of the dog splashing in the water trying to get up the sea wall got his attention and he came over to investigate, maybe calm the dog and tell him it was going to be alright,” Lopez told ABC News.
“Once I got in the water I could see it kind of turned away and gave one good little flutter with its tail and was on its way,” Lopez said.
After White Boy was back on dry land, safe and sound, he was returned to his owners, who had come out of their house to see what all the commotion was about. The pooch had just suffered a few bug bites and bloody paws but was otherwise alright.
“While setting up the rescue operation, look closely, this manatee kept our scared, wet pup company until TPD Marine Patrol could complete the rescue,” read a caption posted along with a photo on the Tampa Police Department Facebook page.
“You don’t see that every day, and it’s a great reminder … the importance of kindness,” read the post.