When he was leaving for work earlier this month, Luis Castellanos noticed something odd when he looked out at the island in Northern California’s Watsonville Slough. A dog, alone. He thought it was “peculiar,” according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Later, his wife and kids got a better look what was occupying the island, and they could tell the dog must be in trouble. Castellanos called the authorities, and Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s field service manager Todd Stosuy showed up. He quickly realized he needed a boat. He called the Watsonville Fire Department for backup, and a few firefighters showed up — without a boat.
Castellanos got out his inflatable boat.
Firefighter John Stone paddled and Stosuy navigated. They made their way to the island but couldn’t find the dog. They searched for 30 minutes and then went home. A short time later, Castellanos saw the dog lying on the shore in the duckweed.
And not a moment too soon. The dog was very confused and lethargic, and very, very skinny. Stosuy and Stone returned, then paddled to the island and quickly located and scooped up the dog. He was in bad shape — “severely emaciated,” according to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s Facebook page.
“It looked like it had been there forever,” said Fire Capt. Corey Schaefer. “It looked pathetic and skinny. It was withering away.”