People living in Florida knows any body of water in the state may hold a large predator lurking nearby.
The danger is high if any living thing falls into the water.
One desperate dog fell into a river in Tampa and was clinging for life to the side of a steep cement barrier.
Police were called to rescue the flailing Pit Bull named White Boy. A Tampa Police Department Marine Patrol unit responded and realized they needed to act quickly.
As they worked their way into the water to get the dog, rescuers realized the dog wasn’t the only beast in the water below.
The large animal in the water had its eyes on the dog.
It was a manatee.
To get to the dog, Marine Patrol unit veteran Randy Lopez commandeered a nearby resident’s ladder to drop down into the water alongside the concrete wall. The 30-year police veteran worked his way down the ladder to snag White Boy and watched as the manatee turned and swam away.
Police reported that the whole time the manatee was there it appeared to be watching over the struggling dog to make sure he was safe.
Officer Lopez reported it appeared the manatee was keeping the dog company.
“I’m sure consoling him, telling him it’s going to be alright, it’s going to be alright,” Lopez stated.
“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,” Lopez told the local TV news.
“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 stated.
White Boy was returned safe and sound on dry land to his owners. They came out of their house to see what all the commotion was about and realized it was their dog. The dog had some bug bites and cuts on his paws, but no serious injuries.
The manatee may have been simply watching over a lost pup, but it made a larger statement for the public. Police relayed the story:
“While setting up the rescue operation, look closely, this manatee kept our scared, wet pup company until TPD Marine Patrol could complete the rescue,” read a caption posted along with a photo on the Tampa Police Department Facebook page.
“You don’t see that every day, and it’s a great reminder … the importance of kindness,” read the post.
Whether man or beast, kindness goes a long way.