Hearts were pounding and tears were flowing Thursday afternoon as the life of tiny, terrified dog hung in the balance. The pup was trapped in the bay and terrified, shivering from the sharp drop in Tampa temperatures.
This rescue had to be swift, and success was the only option, according to first responders. And, boy did they act fast with no hesitation and no fear. They dove into the frigid water with one mission in mind: reunite Tobey with his owner, Andrea Cassidy.
All thanks to three heroes from the Tampa Police Department, officers filled with passion and perseverance to save the life of a four-legged friend they’d soon meet on the other side.
For Tampa Police officers Chris Audet, Frank Kelley and Nick Wilson, this rescue was all heart. “We dove in knowing Tobey was going to go home. That dog would make it home tonight. We were going to make sure of it,” they told WFLA.
How did this little cutie get into such big trouble? As we all know, man’s best friend has a tendency to be curious.
Tobey craved a bit of adventure during a stroll along Bayshore Boulevard. Since his owner was attending classes at the University of Tampa, a dog walker took Tobey out to get some fresh air.
That’s when the four-legged cutie took off, bolted to the Bay and jumped in the water. Seconds later, Tobey was terrified. The bone-chilling temps hit his tiny body and he panicked.
So, instead of swimming out into the open water, the curious canine sought safety in a dark, cozy space: a storm drain.
That’s when things got dicey and dangerous. The dog was wet and shivering and rescuers were afraid hypothermia would set in before they could reach him.
The rescue began with the officers in the water, searching for Tobey. When they saw that he crawled into a drain pipe, they crawled after him.
But, this rescue became tricky, fast.
The pipe was dark, narrow and long, with tiny Toby scared by unfamiliar voices calling to him. That made him inch deeper into darkness.
The heroes worked methodically and diligently, desperate to get this scared pup to safety. They tried everything. They kept crawling toward Toby, telling us that they could see his wide eyes in the distance.
Then, the brainstorm that broke the case wide open. Tobey needed to hear a familiar voice, a soothing sound of comfort.
This mission called for a mama. When she was lowered into a manhole, she called out over and over to her sweet boy.
Then, the words everyone was waiting to hear. “I got him, I got him,” she cried. “I got him.”
Tobey came out in his mom’s arms to the sounds of clapping and cheering.