Corgi survives after falling into Indian River, swimming several miles to shoreline

1-year-old Jessica was reunited with her owner nearly 26 hours after she went missing

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A 1-year-old corgi is back in her owner’s arms after going overboard on the Indian River in Brevard County Sunday afternoon.

“There was no question it was her, and uh ... very big sigh of relief. It was a very emotional moment,” said the dog’s owner, Jon Atwood, as he fought back tears. “She’s like a Velcro dog. She’s always by my side ... She’d been in and out of my lap all day.”

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The day Jessica the corgi went missing, Atwood told News 6 he had just taken a picture with her on his lap. His furry best friend was with him while traveling from Fort Pierce with his mom and stepdad on their boat.

“She got up, went down to get a drink of water. A few minutes later, I had actually gone to the back of the boat to take a video of dolphins playing in the wake and realized she wasn’t at my feet,” said Atwood, who flew from Utah with his pet.

Jessica wasn’t at his feet or on the boat as they passed the intracoastal waterway near Merritt Island.

“When we couldn’t locate her, we immediately put two small boats in the water and started canvassing the water to try and find her,” he said.

Their nightlong search ended without Jessica. It wasn’t until more than 24 hours later Atwood got the news she’d been found.

The one-year-old corgi somehow made it to the shore of a residential neighborhood in Rockledge, about seven miles from where she was last seen, and ended up in the backyard of a home. The homeowner contacted Atwood after he saw his Facebook post asking for help to find her—a post that got more than 1,800 shares.

“I just want to say thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for being kind and thank you for being compassionate,” he said.

Atwood, who flew to Florida from Utah to help his parents in taking the boat up to North Carolina before hurricane season begins, said it was a painful 26 hours without knowing if his dog was safe. But now, Jessica is once again enjoying the boat life and cuddles from her human.

“She’s now going to be always on her leash,” Atwood said.