(WJAR) -- A local shellfisherman taking part in a boat race, winds up saving a dog in distress, found paddling in the middle of Greenwich Bay.
Every Monday, a dozen or so boats with crews to match, use a 'race' as an excuse to unwind on Greenwich Bay. But Monday, August 20th was different.
While onboard the Quing Long, quahogger by trade Jody King noticed what he first thought was a mop floating in the water.
“I yelled at it and it turned around. God it's eyes got about this big,” said King. He thinks the dog seemed like it had been in the water “at least, over an hour,” he said.
Bailing from the race, the crew tried a moving scoop. That didn't work. “It was only fingertips away, but i just couldn't reach her."
Against all protocol, he “jumped off a moving boat without flotation and that was my mistake. She swarm right into my arms.”
He was treading water with his legs while cradling the dog. But, admittedly, he was getting tired, running out of energy, “starting to fail,” he said.
It took three passes and 15 minutes to scoop up both Jody and the dog.
While it may seem relatively close to land, for a little dog whose head is just bobbing up above the water, that maybe was not the case, as the dog was found near the C3 buoy visible from Conimicut Point in Warwick. “Long way between land and her,” said King.
Jody now is reflective on the event, since the adrenalin has worn off. He calls it “kismit, fate,” feeling he was drawn to be there at that time, “In the right place at the right time.”
Jody has the same 'rescue-in-distress' spirit as his brother Tracy King had, who lost his own life in the Station Nightclub Fire in 2003 going back into the burning structure to rescue others. “It's a great feeling,” he says, his eyes welling up. “I kind of know what Tracy felt nine times in and out of the club that night.”
Lilly had a tag with a phone number, and was reunited with her forever-grateful owners. It turns out they were test driving a boat they just purchased on the bay hours before when Lilly somehow went overboard. They couldn't find her and feared she was gone forever. Lilly didn't have a doggy life vest on. “Stuff happens. It just did. Don't let it happen again.”