A stranded dog found himself in quite a pickle when he fell into the Hillsborough River in Tampa. Unable to jump out of the water, the poor dog was left holding on to the edge of the riverbank until help arrived. But the dog was not alone, in what looked like a heartwarming act of kindness, a manatee kept close watch on the struggling pooch.
Locals saw the dog, named White Boy struggling and called the Tampa Police Department’s Marine Patrol Unit Saturday to have it rescued.
But just as help arrived, the responding officer saw something strange in the murky waters and took a picture. From the photo, the silhouette of the manatee is clearly seen near the riverbank where the dog was clinging for dear life. It looked like the manatee was standing guard behind White Boy until help came.
The picture, which was posted on the department’s Facebook post reads, “You don’t see that every day, and it’s a great reminder … the importance of kindness.”
Randy Lopez, who took the picture, said that the manatee was likely drawn to fresh water and the noise White Boy was making.
In an interview by ABC news, Lopez says, “They’re curious by nature so I’m sure the sound of the dog splashing in the water trying to get up the sea wall got his attention and he came over to investigate, maybe calm the dog and tell him it was going to be alright.”
After being rescued, White Boy was handed over to his owners. It’s not known how long the dog was left stranded by the river or how long the manatee stayed for the dog.
“Once I got in the water I could see it kind of turned away and gave one good little flutter with its tail and was on its way,” Lopez said.