Gabe Castellanos was at a park on the East River in Brooklyn, celebrating his 38th birthday with his friends. All of a sudden, Gabe heard someone screaming for help.
This guy said that there was a dog drowning in the river.
Harper, the dog and her usual dog walker were on a walk, and as they were crossing the street, a cab ran a stop sign. The cab driver hit Harper and the dog walker. Both of them only sustained minor injuries, but the dog walker accidentally dropped Harper’s leash.
The dog was so scared that she started running as fast as she could. She kept running until she reached the East River, and because she was terrified she jumped into the river.
The park was full, so people immediately noticed poor Harper struggling to get out of the water.
Someone called the police, but most of the people were worried that they wouldn’t get there on time. Since it was early spring, the river was freezing cold, and Harper was obviously losing strength.
That’s when Gabe decided to save Harper’s life.
Gabe Castellanos was the right person to rescue Harper – he had gone to SUNY Maritime College, where he was trained in water survival skills. So, he ran over to the park’s pier, carefully lowered himself over the side, and jumped into the cold water.
“There was a grand cheer when I entered the water,” said Gabe. “After that, 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 started swimming as fast as he could until he reached the drowning dog. Harper was so afraid that she attacked Gabe, biting his hand and face. But he knew the dog was just scared, and he gently spoke to her until she let him lead her to the shore.
By the time they were back, hundreds of people gathered to watch the rescue. They all cheered when the pair got back onto dry land!
The police and an ambulance had arrived. Also, someone called Harper’s owner, Erin O’Donnell. O’Donnell was preforming with the Brooklyn Irish Dance Company in Manhattan when she got a call. She was shocked to hear what had happened with her dog, but thanks to Gabe the dog is now safe.
“Thank you, Gabe, and I hope you’re feeling better,” said O’Donnell.
Harper’s doing just fine now, despite her injuries on her paws. She is recovering and resting at home with her mom.
“Her paws are in rough shape, so she will need some trendy boots for a few weeks, but otherwise she’s in great spirits,” O’ Donnell said. “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.”
When Gabe saw the dog in trouble, he immediately jumped in to help. We’re so happy that both of them are doing well and recovering from their ordeal!