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Crowd sees dog drowning in river, and one brave man knows what he has to do

man jumps into river to save drowning dog
© lorenzo_fonda - Twitter

Harper is a very fearful pup. The slightest noise or crowd is too much for her to handle and she panics. That’s what happened a few days ago when she was taking a walk in Brooklyn, New York.

By Justine Seraphin Published on 13 May 2019

The rescue dog is learning slowly to gain confidence with her loving owner Erin O’Donnell. But a few days ago, Erin had to go work in another part of the city, and decided to leave her beloved pooch in the hands of a trusted dog walker.

Disaster strikes

Harper was taking a walk with her dog walker in the city, and although she was quite nervous (as she usually is), all was going well. That is, until a cab ran a stop sign and hit both Harper and her walker.

That’s when Harper lost it. She was so scared that she started running, even if she didn’t know where she was going, and didn’t look back. She ran so far she reached East River, and jumped right in to escape the scary hoards of people that were surrounding her.

A race against time

Still panicked, Harper tried her best to keep her head above the water all the while attempting to make sense of the situation she had gotten herself into.

At first, onlookers thought the dog was just taking a leisurely swim, but soon, they realised the panicked and confused animal was not having fun. She was very far out in the water, struggling, and if they waited too long, she would drown due to exhaustion.

A hero in their midst

Luckily, there was a brave man in the crowd. Gabe Castellanos was celebrating his birthday in the city with his friends. But since he had a swimming diploma, when he saw the dog drowning, he believed it was his responsibility as a good Samaritan to go in after her.

He got undressed, put a life vest on, and jumped right into the East River.

“I was no longer focused on the crowds and my surroundings but focused on my breathing and swimming over to Harper. The crowds went mute during my swim. I’m sure they were still cheering, but I could not hear anything other than the water," Gabe told the Dodo.

Harper was even more panicked when Gabe jumped in and approached her, but he stayed determined and focused on his goal. And after a few minutes, they both made it back to shore. They were tired, but left unscathed by their experience.

O’Donnell only found out the trouble her pooch had gotten into after she got home that night.

“It is definitely so refreshing to see the positive responses from people at the Brooklyn Barge and on social media expressing their sympathy for Harper and praising Gabe, who definitely saved the day.”

Gabe could’ve done nothing, but he did everything. Thank you to this absolute hero!