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Video: Fla. marine patrol officer saves ‘Tinkerbell’ after dog and owner fall into water

Officer Michael Skinner saved the terrified chihuahua that had been treading water for over 40 minutes

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A man and his dog, a female Chihuahua named Tinkerbell, fell into the water outside the Sarasota Yacht Club.

Sarasota Police Department/YouTube

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

SARASOTA, Fla. — A chihuahua named Tinkerbell is being credited with treading water for more than 40 minutes while awaiting rescue in a Florida bay, according to the Sarasota Police Department.

Even more impressive: She did it in the dark, while dodging boats in a busy coastal marina.

It happened Friday, Feb. 17, and her rescue is credited to marine patrol officer Michael Skinner with the Sarasota Police Department.

“A man and his dog, a female Chihuahua named Tinkerbell, fell into the water outside the Sarasota Yacht Club,” the police department wrote Feb. 21 on Facebook.

“Fire Rescue saved the adult man right away. Sweet Tinkerbell was in the water for 40 minutes when our officers rescued her.”

The yacht club is at the southern end of Sarasota Bay, and police video shows the officer circled the marina with a spotlight until it revealed a half-submerged dog just after 8 p.m. The water was about 70 degrees at the time.

“Tinkerbell was hunkered on a little piece of floating wood underneath the dock,” the officer reported.

She was terrified and refused to let go of the wood. That forced the officer to use calming baby talk and to stroke Tinkerbell’s back until she permitted him to grab her out of the water.

The video concludes with Tinkerbell reuniting with a disbelieving owner, who repeatedly hugged the dog and the officer. Pictures were also taken as Tinkerbell sat cradled in a woman’s arms.

“I just want to hug you,” the woman tells the officer. “How did you do that? This is just unbelievable. We’ve been looking and looking and looking.”

Tinkerbell appeared to be “safe and healthy,” despite the traumatic ordeal, police said.

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