Dog falls off boat in Lake Michigan, swims 6 miles to reunite with owners

An Illinois couple is elated to have their dog back home after she fell off a boat and went missing over the weekend, WWMT reports.

Riley's adventure started in Frankfort Sunday morning as she and her owners, Ed and Kristen Casas, left the harbor towards the Manitou islands. They were about six miles out and were having some electrical problems, forcing Kristen to head up top while Ed stayed in the cabin.

"In retrospect I remember her coming out here to see where I was going and my poor assumption was that she would go back in the cabin with her dad," Kristin said.

About 10 minutes went by when Ed realized Riley wasn't with him.

"We assumed she went overboard. Did a mayday call for dog overboard," Ed said.

Several fishermen and even the coast guard in Frankfort helped the couple search for their pet for several hours, but no luck. That's when Lynn Fiedor heard what was happening. Her husband was one of the fishermen out searching.

"He called me because he said he heard a distress call come out from Ed and Kristin saying their dog had gone overboard," Fiedor said.

She runs the Lost Dog Search Team downstate and uses social media to track them down.

"We ended up having over 20,000 people look at our post online and when I saw that I was like, we're going to find the dog," she said.

One report said a boater saw a dog swimming off shore in Empire.

"They had scooped it up and dropped it off closer to Empire Beach, assuming that's where it came from," Ed said.

Comments came in Monday morning saying the dog was spotted near the Platte River campground. Ed and Kristin headed out there and talked to campers who saw her.

"Our optimist grew and we found her in 15 minutes," said Ed.

In all, it's estimated Riley swam close to six miles to shore and traveled more than a dozen miles by foot. Ed and Kristin say they owe her safe return to Lynn, who made her way up to Leland Monday afternoon just to see the dog she helped get back to her family.

"We have a happy ending, and it's the reason we do what we do," Fiedor said.

Ed and Kristin say they are thankful for everyone who played a role in helping to get Riley back to them.
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petsanimal newsdogsmissing dogMichigan
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