Rookie firefighter rescues dog struggling to swim off Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Beach firefighter saved the life of a dog after someone noticed the pup was struggling to swim.

Fire Rescue officials said they received an animal rescue call, notifying them about the dog in the water.

“We see a dog about 25 yards out,” said rookie firefighter Emilio Sanchez. “He was really excited to see me.”

Rescuers responded, and Sanchez jumped in the water to help get the dog back on dry land.

“I got the dog on my shoulders, swam toward the dock, and at that point, my crew was able to get a backboard so the dog could climb onto it,” he said.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue tweeted video of the rescue, along with a follow-up post showing that the dog is “safe and sound.”

About an hour later, officials found the owner of the black and brown Shar-pei/Rottweiller-mix, and posted their reunion at City Hall on Twitter.

“What a baby. He is family. He is my baby. I consider him my son,” said the dog’s owner, Jose Ruiz.

Thanks to video and pictures from the rescue, Sanchez is getting a lot of attention online.

“Is this what they consider going viral?” he said.

Though he appreciates the kind words, likes and retweets, Sanchez said he was just doing his job.

“Any life is important in the eyes of the fire department here,” he said. “It’s all in the line of duty.”

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