“My neighbor told me there was a soaking wet, shivering dog crouched in the church doorway around 7:30 a.m. Thursday,” Rev. Paul Mowry of the Sausalito Presbyterian Church in Northern California told the Marin Independent Journal.
“Initially, I thought she was just a lost dog.”
Nope. As it turns out, Daisy, a Pit Bull, had escaped from the boat she lived on with her dog dad, Stephen Alioto, as it sank in Richardson Bay during heavy rainstorms Wednesday night.
She managed to swim a mile to shore in the cold, dark, choppy water, and then walked to the church, which she had previously visited with Alioto.
Mowry took Daisy to the Marin Humane Society. She was microchipped, and it had two phone numbers.
“I tried the secondary number a couple of times and got somebody who said the dog had been given away to a good friend, Steve,” Mowry, who is also the chaplain for the Sausalito Police Department, told the Journal. “And we (the church) have a Steve who comes to our free lunches on Wednesday.”
In the meantime, heartbroken, Alioto had notified Sausalito police that Daisy was missing. (The Journal story doesn’t mention how he managed to make it off the boat safely.) Sgt. Thomas Georges realized the dog who had shown up at the church was probably Daisy.
But the story doesn’t end there. Since Alioto was now homeless, it could have been difficult to locate him. Fortunately Mowry’s partner, Joe Silverman, had a hunch Alioto might show up at a church that was offering free dinners Friday night.
“So I went there and was talking to a man whose boat had sunk,” Mowry told the Journal. “I asked, ‘Is Steve here?’ and the man said, ‘He’s here. His boat sunk and his dog drowned.'”
Mowry said that when he located Alioto and told him Daisy had shown up at the church, “He started sobbing and threw his arms around me.”
Alioto was reunited with Daisy at the shelter on Saturday. He told Mowry he had given her swimming lessons and had taught her how to survive in the water. She had her own life preserver.
For now, Alioto and Daisy are staying on a friend’s boat.
“When Steve came to pick the dog up we provided him with a new leash and dog food,” Lisa Bloch of the Marin Humane Society told the Journal. “A woman just happened to come by to drop off a donation of a 50-pound bag of dog food, and she turned around and gave it to Steve.”
The humane society is accepting food and toy donations for Alioto and Daisy, as well as its many homeless pets. According to its Facebook page, Mowry will be coordinating efforts to help Alioto and Daisy.
“Steve said to me, ‘The things I lost are just things. They can be replaced. But you can’t be replaced, and I can’t be replaced, and Daisy can’t be replaced,'” Mowry told the Journal.
“That dog is his companion. She’s his everything.”
Photo via Facebook