Pit bull reunited with owner after jumping off Fort Lauderdale sea wall

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A relieved pet owner had feared the worst when he couldn’t find his pit bull after she had jumped off a sea wall near their Fort Lauderdale home.

Eighteen-month-old Gypsy couldn’t stop wagging her tail, Monday afternoon, as her owner, John Calia, showered her with love.

Last Monday morning, he had let the dog out, and after about 10 minutes, he went to check on her. “I come back out here, and she’s nowhere to be found,” he said from the rear of his property. “I looked over here, looked to the side of the house.”

But Gypsy was gone.

Calia believes his pet saw something in the water. “You know what I think it was? I think it was a duck,” he said. “She jumped right over, right over the side here.”

The 68-pound puppy swam about two miles through the finger isles of Riverland, ending up at the Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach. “She had to go up here, make a left, go all the way to the main tributary, and then go all the way on the Riverland roads in New River,” said Calia. “She literally traveled like two miles.”

The stocky, blue-nosed pit bull is all muscle. Her legs are about six inches around.

“Every time I see her try to swim — either in a pool or at the beach or something like that — yeah, she sinks,” said Calia.

Gypsy was found hours later, struggling in the water by Steel Marine Tow Boat Capt. Ryan Little. “She’s just trying to swim around the shore … but there were some downed trees and mangroves, so she couldn’t get through,” he told 7News in a phone interview. “She tried to come over to the wall, across the other side of the river, but she couldn’t make it up the wall.”

The canine was trying to hang on to some driftwood but wasn’t having any luck. “We got her to come over to the boat. I reached down and grabbed her, pulled her over by the scruff,” said Little. “She was pretty exhausted when we were on the boat.”

Calia saw an article about the rescue later in the day. “Had it not been for the tow captain, she would have been gone,” he said.

Calia said he’ll always be grateful to Little for coming to Gypsy’s rescue. “He’s the savior of the family. He’s an angel,” he said. “They were in the middle of their job, and they were able to stop what they were doing and pull this dog out. It was tremendous.”

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