They were distracted for just 10 minutes, but in that time their beloved pup fell overboard and disappeared beneath the surface.
Edward Casas and his wife Kristin had planned a beautiful day of sailing on Lake Michigan with their son's beloved 10-month-old puppy Rylee when their boat experienced a mechanical failure. Distracted by the engine trouble, Edward descended to figure out the problem, while Kristin steered the ship.
After 10 minutes, the engine was back online and they were sailing back to their campground when they realized their sweet Belgian Malinois was missing. They searched the ship and came to the devastating conclusion that she had fallen overboard.
"Our hearts just sank," said Edward. "We were gone for maybe 10 minutes, and then we couldn't find her anywhere on the boat and she was nowhere to be seen in the water."
Edward lept into action, he made a desperate plea of "mayday dog overboard" on the radio and several fisherman responded. One fisherman put Edward in touch with his wife, Lynn Fiedor, who runs a volunteer group nearby called the Lost Dog Search Team.
Since Rylee is a Belgian Malinois - a breed known for it's intelligence and athleticism - Fiedor was confident that the pup would find her way home. She called local sheriff's office, park rangers, the Coast Guard and posted an alert on the Lost Dog Search Team's Facebook page.
After a long night of waiting and worrying, good news came in the form of a phone call. A woman had seen Rylee walking along the shore at a nearby campground and called Fiedor.
"It was amazing," she told ABC NEWS, "She literally swam over six miles and walked over 12 miles more through the woods."
She alerted Edward and Kristen and they drove to Platte River Campground, where Rylee was spotted. The couple laid on the ground near the woods with toys and food. Edward squeaked one of Rylee's favorite toys and the happy pup came bounding out of the woods.
Through tears of joy and relief, Edward and Kristen hugged Rylee tightly.
"Let me tell you, I'm not the kind of guy that cries but, oh did this make me cry," he said. "I am so proud of this dog and so proud of and grateful for Lynn [Fiedor]." Kristin agrees, she added, "Lynn is truly an angel walking on Earth with us -- heart of gold, tenacity, relentless, loving and determined. ... Just like Rylee!"
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