A family dog is credited with saving a father-of-two’s life after he rescued him from drowning.
Patrick Mulligan was exploring Newburyport, Massachusetts, in a boat with his two boys, 12-year-old Ryan and 9-year-old Lucas, and their English Labrador, Vader, when he nearly drowned, Yahoo! Parenting reported.
Without a life jacket, Mulligan jumped out of the boat to try and move his family closer to shore when he suddenly found himself in a dangerous situation.
“I got caught in the current, so I decided to swim back to the beach, but on my way, I started cramping up,” Mulligan told Yahoo! Parenting. “I still had 20 or 30 yards to go before I got to the island. I was looking at my kids and I started getting scared because I wasn’t making much progress.
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“I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God, I could drown, and my kids are standing here watching and they would be stranded on the island.' It was terrifying, and of course would have been traumatizing for them.”
About 15 minutes passed before Ryan realized his father was in trouble. He looked at Vader and said, “Go save Daddy,” and let him go into the water.
“My first thought was that if he climbs on top of me and starts playing, I can’t defend myself, but he didn’t,” Mulligan said. “He swam right to me, pivoted, and let me grab the handle on his lifejacket.”
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Vader successfully swam Mulligan safely back to shore.
“I was blown away by it,” Mulligan added. “It was like Vader did it every day, he calmly swam right in front of me and did a 180 so I could reach up and grab the handle. He didn’t even touch me. So I grabbed his lifejacket and he took me home. At first I thought I might be too heavy, but he didn’t hesitate. He didn’t even slow down.
“I felt such relief. The first thing I did was thank God. The boys came over and started hugging me.”
Mulligan said he’ll always wear a life jacket from here on out.
“I had lifejackets on board and there’s an offshore harness I wear, but I didn’t have the kind of lifejacket for myself that a kayaker would wear, which is what I needed,” he said.
Mulligan’s wife probably agrees.
“The kids call her Captain Safety,” he said. “She puts limits on our fun from an adventurous standpoint, but the boys kept saying, ‘This wouldn’t have happened if Captain Safety was here.’”