A dog named Nayla found herself stranded far from home over the weekend, but was expected to be reunited with her owner after a daring river rescue.
Retired Knox County firefighter Mike Robinson was fishing on the Tennessee River early Sept. 23 in his kayak when he spotted a dog stuck in the water by a 30-foot embankment. He saw her white fur and sad eyes peeking out from thick brush, where she sat half-submerged. She had either fallen from the steep bank or been carried downstream by the river to this spot near Riverside Landing Park.
Robinson knew he could not reach the dog in his small kayak, so he called 911 to see if the Knoxville Police Department could get a boat out. He said KPD Animal Control showed up on the scene within 5 minutes. He also alerted a woman who was helping to train a youth rowing program nearby, and she brought out a jon boat that could reach the shivering dog.
Together, the pair rescued the dog and brought her to shore. KPD then transported her to Young-Williams Animal Center for evaluation. Robinson said the dog looked well-cared-for, and he hoped she would be found by her owner.
"I want to make sure she finds her home," Robinson told Knox News. "If it was my dog, I would really want to get her back."
'She's a unique rebel'
In South Knoxville, Anthony DeLuca woke up the morning of Sept. 23 to find that his beloved 2-year-old dog Nayla, who he said is "like a daughter," was missing. His roommate had let her onto the patio the night before and she had jumped over the railing. DeLuca said Nayla, a beagle-pitbull mix, wandered from home all the way to Riverside Landing Park, possibly heading toward where they used to live in East Knoxville.
A friend of his who is looking to adopt a dog dropped by Young-Williams Animal Center in John Tarleton Park and saw Nayla's photo. She alerted her friend that his dog was found. DeLuca planned to pick Nayla up from Young-Williams and take her to the vet to make sure she was all right after the weekend's expedition.
"She's a unique rebel with a cause," DeLuca said, describing Nayla as an emotional support animal to him.
Tennessee law requires that stray animals be held by animal centers or agencies for a minimum of 72 hours. Young-Williams keeps lost dogs for 72 hours if they have no identifying tags or microchips before they can be adopted. If a dog or its owner can be identified, the center will hold the dog for five days or longer, depending on the situation, the center said.
Robinson, who found Nayla on the riverbank, started a company called Heatseeker H2O that develops products to keep first responders and dogs, as well as athletes, from heat exhaustion. Saving animals is part of his work, even in retirement from firefighting.
"I'm an animal lover, for sure," Robinson said. "I would do anything I can to help an animal. And this is separate from my company, but this is what I do anyway."
Daniel Dassow is a reporting intern focusing on trending and business news. Phone 423-637-0878. Email email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Lost dog reunited with owner after dramatic Tennessee River rescue