A dog rescued from Lake Michigan on Chicago's North Side Monday was reunited with its owner days after the pet went missing from a city dog beach.
Officers received a call of a dog in the water around 10 a.m. CT and called the Chicago Police Marine Unit and the Chicago Fire Department for help.
"I was surprised because the dog had been in the water for a least half and hour from what we can estimate," said Officer Jennifer Terzich, who was flagged down by citizens who saw the dog in the lake.
Terzich said she watched the dog, named Laila, until rescue crews arrived and the animal was pulled from Lake Michigan, about a half-mile offshore.
"I am a dog lover," Terzich said. "I’ll pretty much do anything for a dog. I love them. I just wanted to make sure the dog was alive and going to be able to get back to shore."
Dr. Eileen Murphy at West Wrigley Animal Hospital said the dog was brought to her clinic by a group of officers Monday morning. The clinic was able to scan the dog for a microchip and located the owner.
"The owner lost the dog on Saturday and thought for sure that he wasn’t gonna get her back," Murphy said.
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Murphy said the dog was scared but drank some water and was given treats.
"My first thought was, 'Is she alive?' I didn't think she was going to make it through the weekend but this girl is a fighter, she can survive," said owner Charles Bogenberger. "I said, 'I'm coming right over. Where do I need to pick her up?'"
Bogenberger said he was at the Montrose Dog beach when Laila ran out of a gate that had been left open.
"I hadn’t even fully applied my sunscreen before she escaped through the double doors," he said, adding that he spent his weekend scouring area parks with a group of people looking for the beloved pet.
The pair were reunited Monday afternoon after the harrowing rescue.
"I had no idea she could swim until yesterday but apparently she's a real Michael Phelps," Bogenberger said.
Laila was adopted by Bogenberger from a shelter in Denver, Colorado. She had been found on a street in Houston, sick and malnourished, Bogenberger said.
"She learned a lot of survival skills down there that helped her survive a weekend in Chicago," he said.
"I am so impressed they were willing to take a boat out into the middle of the harbor to bring her back," Bogenberger added. "Honesty, Laila is pretty afraid of strangers, but the way she’s warmed up to them just since they rescued her is kind of incredible. It’s a testament to how friendly and genuine these people are."