Dolphins save Doberman Pinscher stranded on sandbar

Turbo, a Marco Island Doberman, is safely back at his home and with his family after residents say some dolphins helped the dog stay afloat in a canal for several hours. 

Chad Smith  

March 02, 2011

When Audrey D’Alessandro of Paradise Township was on vacation last week in Florida, she and a team of rescuers came together to save a dog trapped in a canal near her vacation home. And who else made up that team of rescuers? Her husband, firefighters — and two dolphins.

It all started when D’Alessandro and her husband, Sam, walked out of their home on Marco Island, near Naples, to go fishing. Behind the home is a canal where “we saw these two dolphins and they were splashing and making this big commotion,” said Audrey D’Alessandro, a 16-year Pocono resident.

Dolphins usually swim through the canal behind the home, as it leads into the Gulf of Mexico, but this time the dolphins weren’t just passing through.

“They were just there, in one place, splashing water against the canal wall,” she said.

When the couple went to investigate, they saw that an 80-pound Doberman pinscher had fallen into the canal. The dog was standing on a sandbar and was half submerged in the water. (It was low tide at the time.) The dog, which had gone missing from someone’s home 12 hours prior, was too weak to bark, she said, and the dog couldn’t get back onto land because it couldn’t climb up the canal wall, which was several feet high.

By the time D’Alessandro, who works as a delivery and labor nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, lowered herself into the canal to get onto the sandbar where the dog was standing, the dolphins had already gone.

Sam D’Alessandro, of the engineering firm RKR Hess Associates in East Stroudsburg, called firefighters who, along with his wife, helped hoist the dog out of the water. The dog, Turbo, was shaking and wasn’t even able to the stand when he got out of the water. The dog belonged to someone who lived eight blocks away.

“The owner was putting up ‘lost’ posters when the cops told her that the dog was found,” Audrey D’Alessandro said.

A few days later Turbo and his owner came over to the D’Alessandros. All are now friends.

The D’Alessandros, who have a yellow labrador of their own, said that other news agencies in Florida were contacted and for the rest of the time the D’Alessandros were on Marco Island, they were almost like local celebrities.

“People pulled up to us when were driving and said, ‘You’re the couple that saved that dog,'” she said. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ But I think it was really those dolphins.”


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