Dog and owner reunited after pup goes overboard during storm off FL coast

Dog and owner reunited after pup goes overboard during storm off FL coast

ENGLEWOOD, FL (WWSB/RNN) - A boater said he's counting his blessings after getting stuck in a storm over the weekend and nearly losing it all.

Shane Hale sold everything he owned and was planning on sailing around the world with just the necessities. The biggest of those was Harley – his dog and first mate.

Hale was a few miles off the southwest coast of Florida, near Venice, Saturday night when a storm blew in, trashing and partially swamping his sail boat.

"Everything that I sold and everything that I own is all going to be gone," an emotional Hale said in a video he recorded in the aftermath.

"My boom broke off the top. It about took me out when it did. I got a bungee cord, and I'm waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard to come and see if they save me, I guess ... And I lost my dog."

That last one was the most important as far as Hale was concerned.

"The owner was very adamant about, 'Let's find the dog. Forget the boat, I just want my dog,'" said Craig Marcum with Sea Tow Venice. "I can't tell you how distraught he was."

Hale and his boat were towed back to shore, but Harley was nowhere in sight.

"At that point in time, even though those guys just spent all that work on [the boat] to bring me and it back to land, I wanted to put a hole in it, and just trade it off for my dog," he said.

Heartbroken, Hale took to social media to get the public's help.

Less than 24 hours later, he received a call that Harley was found at Manasota Beach. To get there, he would have dog paddled close to three miles through 10-foot waves during the storm.

"I'm in the back of my boat during this time as I've lost my dog and I'm crying and praying to God and yelling at God because I'm mad at him for taking my dog," Hale said.

"But then, God listened to everybody's praying," Hale said. "I know from the bottom of my heart that the people that prayed are why I got my dog back."

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