Boaters save lost dog struggling in the ocean and reunite him with his family

You never know what you’ll find out on the water, but one group of boaters was in for a big surprise when they found a dog, helplessly stranded in the ocean.

Thankfully, the dog is now safe after they came to the rescue and brought him back to shore.

A group of friends were out on the water near Fort Lauderdale, Florida when they noticed a tiny white dog struggling in the sea.

“I saw something in the water and at first I was thinking, like, ‘that kinda looks like a dog,’” Bryn Crowell, one of the guests on the boat, told WSVN. “A second later I realized it was, in fact, a dog.”

They knew they had to help the poor dog. Another boater named Dylan Berian jumped in to the water and helped get the dog in the boat.

The rescue was captured on camera by Bryn, who shared it in a now-viral TikTok video with nearly 12 million views:

“You could tell he just had the swim of his life,” Bryn told The Dodo.

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The dog was scared and wet but otherwise unharmed. He still had all his collars on, indicating that he had likely fallen off a boat by accident.

“The dog warmed up to us instantly,” Dylan told WSVN. “As soon as it got in the boat it was shaking, but after about five minutes the dog calmed down and seemed quite happy to be on a stable boat rather than getting drowned by waves.”

It turned out the dog, named Zuko, had fallen off his family’s boat by accident. The boaters were able to reach out to the family, and soon, back on shore, they were able to reunite them with their dog after a terrifying ordeal.

“I’m so grateful for them because they saved me such a huge heartbreak,” Zuko’s owner said.

“We called and could hear that they were crying and upset on the phone call,” Bryn told The Dodo. “When we returned Zuko, we could see [his owners] holding him close and crying.”

Zuko falling from the boat was an unfortunate accident, but thankfully he’s okay after the whole ordeal — and his family is determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again: in a follow-up video, Bryn showed a text message from the owners, showing Zuko in a brand-new life jacket.

“ALWAYS put a life jacket on your dog when boating even if they’re the best swimmer around!” Bryn wrote.