Posted May 8, 2018
A little Yorkshire Terrier named Gigi is lucky to be alive after he was snatched from the frigid water of New Bedford harbor Tuesday afternoon by a dredging crew working for the EPA.
Gigi and his companion, a female chihuahua named Milo, were having a good old time racing around in and out of traffic at the lower part of Sycamore Street, which follows the bank of the harbor. The dogs were getting under and around cars, and worried motorists had called the police, who called Animal Control Officer Terry Cripps.
That brought out Cripps and two police officers. The chihuahua, located under a car, was snagged by passers by and placed in Cripps’ van while the chase after Gigi went full tilt.
The little dog bolted for the Dattco Bus property and headed for the river, Cripps said. It then took a six-foot plunge into the water. “I couldn’t believe he did that,” Cripps said later.
With the sun glare coming off the water from the west, Cripps said it was hard to spot the dog.
But a pair of teenagers on their bikes with sharp eyes spotted the dog’s little head bobbing in the water about 150 yards from shore as hypothermia began to set in. At about this time two boats from the EPA dredging project came up the river. Cripps and the teens “started waving our arms and shouting like a madman,” Cripps said.
The men in the boats finally got the message that there was a dog in the water and headed toward him.
The first boat “missed him by about a foot,” Cripps said. The second boat, a larger one, was also headed straight at the dog, and was about to go right over him.
But that didn’t happen. A burly man on the second boat by the name of John Johnson reached down and scooped up the dog. Another man held Gigi down until he could be made safe. Cripps met with the dredging team at a dock at Kyler’s Catch seafood, where Cripps wrapped him in his sweatshirt “to warm him up. He was shivering, freezing.” If he had been missed and was carried out into the harbor, “he couldn’t have survived,” Cripps said.
Now for the happy ending. The dogs’ owners called police asking about them, and they were all reunited at home.
Fairhaven police declined to identify the teens who spotted the dog because they are minors, said Lt. Kevin Kobza, police spokesman.
The Environmental Protection Agency identified Johnson as the man who grabbed the dog out of the water.
The other employees of Cashman Dredging, EPA said, were Mason Stump, Mike McBride, Greg Bates, Rudy Garza and Khanh Tieu.