Boater, windsurfers rescue dog from San Francisco Bay

Berkeley resident Adam Cohen was on his way home from his engineering job in San Francisco Monday evening, traveling through the bay by a motorized inflatable boat, when he spotted a group of windsurfers with their sails down, crowding around something in the water.

Rescuers call the dog Richard Parker, named after the lifeboat-bound Bengal Tiger from “Life of Pi.” (Photo credit: Adam Cohen)

While he first thought the surfers were having trouble, Cohen soon saw it was really a young dog who was in distress.

The puppy, believed to be a black Labrador RetrieverAmerican Pit Bull Terrier mix, had somehow paddled herself out into the bay, 2 to 3 miles from shore, and was miraculously discovered by the windsurfers as she struggled to stay afloat.

“She was way out there,” Cohen tells “It looked like she was trying to swim to Angel Island.”

As Cohen looked on, one of the windsurfers contacted the Coast Guard via a two-way radio to ask for help in the pup’s rescue while another held onto the dog, balancing her on his surfboard.

Rather than wait for help to arrive, Cohen offered to take the puppy home with him by boat.

“We reached down and grabbed the little dog and pulled her up into the boat and she was just shaking and did not say anything,” Cohen tells “Sort of collapsed in the bottom of the boat and just laid there.”

Cohen brought the shivering puppy home with him, and he and his wife Lisa Grodin have been caring for her ever since. After making efforts to get the pup warm and dry, the couple says she started to perk right up.

“She was cold, so we put blankets on her and she was really receptive,” Cohen explains. “She slept for a long time.”

“She’s the sweetest, sweetest thing,” Grodin tells the Los Angeles Times of the rescued pup. “She slept for hours and then she ate and then she was on the mend.”

The next morning, Grodin took the pup for an exam at the Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, where the puppy was given a clean bill of health. Cohen and Grodin were hoping the veterinarian would find a microchip imbedded in the dog’s skin — which would allow the couple to locate the dog’s owner — but a scan came up empty.

Cohen and Grodin already have a dog of their own, a Lab mix named Zephyr, but say they will consider adopting the rescued puppy if her owner does not come forward.

And what would Cohen and his wife name the puppy if they decide to keep her?

“We’ve been calling her ‘Richard Parker,’ from The Life of Pi,” Grodin jokingly tells the Piedmont Patch.

Sources:,, Los Angeles Times, Piedmont Patch