For all the fishing Jeremy Van Pelt has enjoyed in his home state of Texas, perhaps his most satisfying recent catch was that of a weary Labrador retriever in need of a rescue.
Van Pelt, a fly fishermen from Austin, was casting from his kayak in a remote part of Galveston Bay on Sunday when he spotted a furry black object moving across the water in the distance.
It turned out to be a black lab, far from shore and entirely alone.
“I was shocked that someone’s dog was out in West Bay swimming by itself with no visible people around,” Van Pelt told KVUE.
The dog seemed relieved to see Van Pelt paddling its way, and as the two met Van Pelt carefully hoisted the canine onto his vessel and began to paddle to shore.
But first he telephoned the number on the dog’s collar.
Van Pelt learned that the lab’s name is Grace and she’s 9 years old.
Krista White, Grace’s owner, told KUVE that she was surprised to hear where her dog had been found. “I just can’t believe she was out in the middle of the bay,” White said. “There were so many things that could have happened to her.”
Apparently, Grace had ventured into the water in search of White’s husband, after he had set off to do some fishing.
Reached Tuesday afternoon, Van Pelt told USA Today:
“I really can’t put into words how great it felt to help Grace and pull her out of the water to safety. The experience was such a positive one, and a reminder of the unconditional love our animals have for us. I was beyond grateful to help return Grace back to her family.
“The fishing trip was a bust, but it was one I’ll never forget!”
–Images showing Grace swimming toward and on the kayak are courtesy of Jeremy Van Pelt