On Monday morning, a couple spotted a small dog named Frankie swimming in circles in Miami Beach's Biscayne Bay.
Johanne Poirier and her husband could see the 11-year-old chihuahua-cocker spaniel mix frantically doggy-paddling in the water from their Venetian Islands home. They tried to coax the animal back to shore — and even approached him in their boat — but Frankie refused their help.
The Poiriers called the police.
Miami Beach Marine Patrol Officer Vincente Canete came to the dog's rescue.
"The dog was pretty much swimming 100 yards east of De Lido Island," Canete told CBS Miami, adding, "I approached the dog slowly, I didn't want to spook it away, and it immediately came swimming to the boat so it made it easy for me to lean over the boat and grab it and retrieve it from the water."
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What the Poiriers and Canete didn't realize: Frankie had recently gone blind.
"When he swam to the boat I thought he swam because he saw me but that wasn't the case. He was blind," said Canete.
Frankie was brought to Alton Road Animal Hospital where he was searched for an identification microchip. His owners, Melissa and Jeremiah Heffron, received a phone call shortly after and immediately drove to the hospital to retrieve their dog.
"When we adopted him, the rescue league put the chip in him," Jeremiah Heffron told WSVN. "That's great that they were able to find him and contact us because we would have been looking who knows for how long."
"A pet's part of the family, and when they go missing it's a real hardship," Canete told the Miami Herald. "It's rewarding because you saved a life."
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The Heffrons told the Miami Herald that Frankie had been staying with Melissa's parents on De Lido island and must have escaped through a sliding glass door and made a run for the neighbour's waterfront yard.
"He loves the water," Melissa Heffron said.
When Melissa's mother realized the dog was gone, she suggested calling the police, but Melissa told her the police wouldn't be concerned with a missing pet.
About an hour later, Neighborhood Resource Officer Ernesto Rodriguez called Melissa's cell: Frankie had been found.
"It was just so nice to know that, that help is available and they care so much. He texted me pictures of Frankie. It was above and beyond what I thought a police department would do," Heffron said.
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