In an almost miraculous tale of survival, a dog that got caught 1.5 miles offshore on a sinking boat during a storm in California saved itself by swimming all the way back to land, then sought safety at a church only to be reunited with its owner who feared she had drowned.
Last Thursday, the city of Sausalito, California, experienced a storm described as the biggest to impact the area in several years.
Steve Alioto, the owner of the dog, Daisy, told CBS San Francisco that he'd anchored his boat because he couldn't afford to dock. He said he left Daisy on the boat while he went to help out a friend, but when he returned the only thing he saw of the boat was the mast sticking out of the water. He was devastated.
What Steve didn't know, however, was that Daisy had braved the storm-troubled waters of the Sausalito Bay, swam 1.5 miles back to shore and found refuge in a church where she and her owner had sometimes gone for food.
"My neighbor told me there was a soaking wet, shivering dog crouched in the church doorway around 7:30 a.m. Thursday," the Rev. Paul Mowry of the Sausalito Presbyterian Church told Marin News. "Initially, I thought she was just a lost dog."
Mowry said he alerted Sausalito police and the Marin Humane Society, who sent an officer to scan the dog's microchip which revealed two numbers.
"I tried the secondary number a couple of times and got somebody who said the dog, Daisy, had been given away to a good friend, Steve. And we (the church) have a Steve who comes to our free lunches on Wednesday," said Mowry. "He lived on the boat with Daisy."
Police say Steve reported his dog lost to police last Friday and they were quickly able to make the connection.
"He (the police officer) called me and said they took a report — this guy Steve reported his lost dog, a Pit Bull," said Mowry.
Mowry said they were able to locate Steve at a dinner at The Open Door Ministries. "I walked over and said to Steve, 'We have your dog.' He said, 'Are you kidding me?' I told him the dog showed up at the church. He started sobbing and threw his arms around me."
The following day, Daisy and her owner were reunited at the Humane Society.
"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 said. "That dog is his companion. She's his everything."