Dog swept away from boat in Chicago River is doing fine

A 5-year-old Pomeranian named Tank is safe today after falling off of his family’s boat and being swept away in the waters of the Chicago River.

A reunited family: Cali, Linn Lewis, Tank, and Mark Lewis.

Mark and Linn Lewis from nearby St. Charles, Ill., usually tether Tank to their 20-foot powerboat during family excursions. But they made an exception this Memorial Day weekend, giving the tiny Pomeranian free reign of the vessel as it cruised down the Chicago River Sunday evening.

But when the craft hit a wave near Goose Island, near the river’s north branch, tiny Tank slipped into the murky river water. Mark and Linn dashed over to the side of the boat, but their little guy had already drifted out of sight.

Desperate to find Tank, Mark and Linn spent more than seven hours searching the banks of the Chicago River, but still the Pomeranian was nowhere to be found. The pair was devastated, but vowed to continue searching. Mark and Linn contacted the Chicago Police Department, the Coast Guard, and press outlets in the Chicagoland area, hoping to get the word out about Tank’s disappearance.

The couple’s efforts worked. Luckily, Tank was wearing his trusty yellow life jacket when he tumbled off of his family’s boat, saving his life and making him easy to spot when he made it to shore.

By Monday afternoon, Mark and Linn had received dozens of phone calls from Chicago residents who had spotted a blonde Pomeranian wearing a bright yellow life jacket running near the Ravenswood and Albany Park neighborhoods, both located on the city’s north side near the Chicago River.

After eluding several people who tried to catch him, Tank was picked up in a park by a kind woman walking her dog. After hearing the Lewis’s story on the local news, the Good Samaritan contacted a very relieved Mark and Linn.

Tank and his family were reunited at 11:45 p.m. Monday night. “We went from complete devastation to complete elation,” says Linn Lewis.

The Lewises offered a $500 reward for the safe return of their beloved Pomeranian, but Tank’s rescuer refused payment for her good deed.

“She would not accept it,” explains Mark Lewis, “she has a small dog who is like a family member to her and her family and, in her heart, she couldn’t justify reuniting us with our dog and taking money for it.”

Mark and Linn are grateful to the Good Samaritan for taking such good care of Tank. They will be donating the reward money to a charity of the woman’s choice.

As for Tank, he is happy to be back at home with Mark, Linn, and the family’s second dog, a Yorkshire Terrier named Cali.