Xena, a 10-year-old yellow Lab, loved to chase after the toy her dog mom, Regina Pugh, would throw in the ocean at Davis Islands Dog Beach in Tampa, Fla.
That’s just what Xena was doing Sunday when she began floating on her back.
“I thought, ‘Is she showing me a new trick?’” Pugh told the Tampa Tribune. “Then I realized something was going on. I didn’t expect the drowning to happen so fast.”
Pugh swam out to Xena and brought her back to shore. The dog beach was crowded that summer Sunday, and other pet parents didn’t hesitate to help the unconscious dog. As Pugh gave Xena mouth-to-mouth, three strangers took turns giving the dog CPR.
And then, in what couldn’t possibly have been better timing, a Tampa Fire Rescue truck drove by. Beachgoers flagged it down. Fire Capt. Timothy Hayes and firefighters took over the rescue effort, placing a human-sized oxygen mask over Xena’s face.
Within about four minutes, Xena was awake and ready to get up.
“Did we make a difference? I’m not the one to tell you,’’ Hayes told the Tribune. “We did what we could do. I think the majority of the credit goes to those bystanders there who pulled the dog out of the water and started CPR.”
According to her vet, Xena may have had a seizure in the water before losing consciousness.
“The most important thing is that I want to express gratitude and thankfulness for the people who helped me,’’ Pugh told the Tribune. “People jumped right in, got on their hands and knees, and did whatever they could do. They were perfect strangers willing to do whatever they could to help me.”
Hopefully those perfect strangers — emphasis on perfect — will be rewarded for their heroic efforts, as will Capt. Hayes and his crew.
Here’s a video of Xena’s rescue that was recorded by one of the bystanders.
Photo via YouTube