The hero and dog from Saturday’s epic rescue off of the shore at Transmitter Park have been identified.
Gabe, a SUNY Maritime College college graduate was celebrating his birthday at the Brooklyn Barge bar across from the park when he spotted the dog, Harper, in the water.
Harper’s owner was at work during the incident that began when Harper’s walker was hit by a taxi that allegedly ran a stop sign. “I had a walker come to walk Harper and according to the walker and the company, they got hit by a taxi that blew through a stop sign” Harper’s owner said.
The two-year-old dog and her owner now live near McGolrick Park but used to live near and frequent Transmitter Park. Harper’s owner suspects that the startled dog was looking for familiar territory as it ran over a mile to Transmitter Park following the accident.
“The walker got the brunt of the hit; he tried to go after and she’s very fast,” Harper’s owner said. The walker was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and is recovering.
“People were talking online about how they spotted a loose dog near Transmitter, so he called the cops,” Harper’s owner said.
“She’s never gone swimming before so I don’t know where she learned how to swim…I don’t think she would have come back to land if he didn’t grab her,” she said.
Harper’s paws were injured from the run and swim and the doggo is recovering.
Gabe explained how the incident unfolded in detail with an Instagram post:
I want to thank everyone for their bday wishes and their nice words but I wanted to clear a few things up about what transpired on Saturday.
Yes, I was at the Brooklyn Barge celebrating my Bday when we saw a dog “going for a swim.” The day grew hot and we all figured a nice swim could do us all a service. We assumed the Owner was on shore keeping a watchful eye until a patron ran up to the Northside of the Barge with a panicked voice saying that the dog, Harper, had run away. At this point Harper was in the water for about 10 minutes swimming around in circles. If you are unaware, the East River temperature is about 50 Degrees and this lean short haired dog is exerting a ton of energy in the vicinity of the Barge and Pier without stopping. Hypothermia does not have a set time to set in but everyone began to notice that Harper was not as buoyant as she was when we all thought it was a fun swim. People began calling 911 but I knew if someone didn’t do something soon, we were all going to witness the death of someone’s loving pet as it didn’t look like she would last much longer. I began to look around for a flotation device and managed to find a life vest.
Little unknown fact: I am a graduate of SUNY Maritime College, a State funded Merchant Marine Academy located in the Bronx. We are taught Ocean survival skills in case of falling overboard or abandoning a sinking ship.
I knew not to jump in the water without a PFD and knew that I would only be in the water long enough to secure Harper and swim back to shore. I walked along the shoreline headed towards the pier as that was where Harper seemed to be treading water the most.
All the while, Jim, Owner of the Brooklyn Barge, was offloading information to me about water temp and current speed so as to make me aware of the situation in the water.
Fishing lines were still in the water so I kept yelling for people to reel them in so as not to create a far worse scene. I reached the end of the pier and removed my pants and shoes as I needed full motion in case I had to swim far out to grab Harper. I asked all of the local Fisherman if they knew where the old pilings were in the water.
Since no one could tell me and be 100% sure where the pilings were, I found my entry point and lowered myself as far as I could in order to not fall too deep in case I did land on a piling.
At this point, Harper had begun swimming South towards the Barge so I had a little work to do to reach her. As I approached her, she panicked and began swimming towards the channel of the River so I swam up quickly to prevent her from swimming further. In her panic and fear, she lunged at my face catching me on my cheek and her lower jaw hitting my front teeth. I immediately reached for her neck/collar to which she responded by biting down on my left hand. After a small struggle, I was able to secure her in a way as to prevent her head from turning in my direction and possibly causing more damage to my hand. The rest was an easy swim back to shore where people helped to bring her up on the rocks safe and sound. I did end up going to Bellevue to be treated.
I understand that people think I was in harm’s way but the risk was calculated throughout the whole process.
What I am aware of is that I was told Harper and her Dog Walker were both involved in a vehicle strike just before she bolted and headed for the water. We were able to get some information and receive her vaccination records. I was told she was at an Owners friends house recovering from her adventure. I too am recovering and will be fine.
Cheers all to a nice Saturday!