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German Shepherd Treads Water for 11 Hours, Helps Rescue Owner After His Boat Sinks

People logo People 2/21/2020 Helen Murphy
a dog looking at the camera: Heidi the German shepherd was named honorary police dog for the day by officers in Moreton Bay, Australia © Queensland Police Heidi the German shepherd was named honorary police dog for the day by officers in Moreton Bay, Australia

Heidi, a German shepherd from Australia, is being praised after she helped save her owner’s life when his boat sank.

On Thursday morning, police officers in Moreton Bay, Australia, were notified about a situation by a fisherman, who had spotted Heidi swimming in the bay next to a tackle box, a wetsuit, and more items that appeared to be from a boat that had gotten into trouble, according to a news release from the Queensland Police.

Heidi was quickly pulled out of the water and taken to a veterinarian for a check-up, while Brisbane Water Police initiated a rescue operation for her owner.

The pup’s owner, a 63-year-old man, was found “clinging” to a boat in Moreton Bay just hours later, according to the release. The man reportedly told police that the boat lost power on Wednesday evening and had filled up with water.

Heidi, who was found to be uninjured by the vet, had “amazingly” been treading water for about eleven hours while she waited for help, police said. Her owner was transported to a local hospital but had no serious injuries.

a man floating on a body of water: Queensland Police © Provided by People Queensland Police

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a man petting a dog: German shepherd treads water for 11 hours to save owner © Provided by People German shepherd treads water for 11 hours to save owner

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While she waited for her owner to return from the hospital, Heidi enjoyed some food and rest at the police department — and was even named an honorary police dog.

“We would take this opportunity to remind boaties to plan for the worst when they’re out on the water,” Senior Sergeant Jay Bairstow of the Brisbane Water Police said, according to the release. “Always wear [a] personal flotation device and ensure that your safety equipment [is] tested and in good order.”

He added: “Thankfully there was a happy ending to this search and Heidi was able to be our honorary PD for the day.”

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