When Keith “Kiwi” Soffes boards his shrimp boat for a day on the water, he always brings along his favorite first mate.
Monster is a pitbull mix who grew up at sea. She joins Keith on his boat just about every work day, trolling Galveston Bay off the coast of Texas. She eats, sleeps, and plays on the deck of the boat, but on a recent outing she somehow slipped off board when Keith wasn’t looking.
Keith says his dog was barking at birds and doing “the Monster thing” while they were fishing, but when he loaded up his nets to go home, she was nowhere to be found.
“I said, ‘Where she at?’ It was the middle of the bay, pretty much,” Keith explained. “I mean, you know, open water, four or five miles from any type of land. My heart just fell. I couldn’t even speak, but I turned around, I got my GPS coordinates, and I said, ‘We’re going to find her.’ I looked up and down the coast.”
Coming home without his best friend left Keith “heartbroken.” He shared a photo on Facebook asking local friends to keep an eye out for Monster, but he didn’t have a lot of hope that she’d be found. Still, he kept posting pictures of Monster online for the next five days. Finally, the fisherman got the nibble he’d been waiting for: A woman reported seeing a dog that looked like Monster at a nearby park.
Keith realized the park is about 5 miles from where his boat had been anchored.
“I said, ‘She couldn’t have made it that swim,” he said. “There’s no way that dog swam that far.”
Yet when he went to the park, there was Monster!
Keith says he was sobbing when he realized his dog was alive, and Monster was so happy to see him she covered him in kisses. He still can’t believe how far she must have swum to reunite with him, but credits her lifetime on the water for giving her the skills she needed in an emergency.
“I think her swimming every day saved her life. Just her being on the boat, being used to the water,” he said.
Later, he shared a picture of Monster sleeping soundly with a big grin on her doggy face.
“Monster dog peacefully asleep.. she acts like nothing happened,” Keith wrote on Facebook. “Told her the [trouble] she put me through. I didn’t sleep 5 days. My eyes are swollen. My voice is never going to be the same. From calling her name… And she goes to sleep happy as a jaybird I think she may have jumped off on purpose. Just to get on TV. But I still love her.. and so glad I got my little friend back.”
Monster and Keith are now back at work, but Monster is modeling a spanking new life vest and tracking device, just in case.
When there’s a will, there’s a way! Monster clearly knows her way around the water. We’re so glad she was able to make her way back home.
Share this story to remind dog owners to put a life vest on their dogs this summer! It could save their life.
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