WATCH: Hear First Hand Account of Miracle Dog’s Survival After Falling Overboard into Indian River
By Jordan Rocco, Space Coast Daily // March 16, 2022
1-YEAR-OLD CORGI JESSICA HAS BECOME A MEDIA DARLING AFTER LONG SWIM TO SAFETY
WATCH: Space Coast Daily’s Jordan Rocco caught up with Jon Atwood, who is traveling aboard the 65-foot motor yacht “Change of Pace” en route to North Carolina, to get Atwood’s first-hand account of the odyssey of his 1-year-old Corgi, Jessica.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – When Jon Atwood joined his mom and stepfather, Robert and Darlene Hill recently in Fort Pierce to help them transport their 65-foot motor yacht, “Change of Pace,” to North Carolina for hurricane season, he had no idea he and his dog would have starring roles in what could easily be a script for Cast Away, Part II.
The story began last Sunday when Atwood brought Jessica, his 1-year-old Corgi, to keep him company for the long trip as he and his parents were traveling north via the Intracoastal Waterway going north through Brevard County en route to North Carolina.
At about 4:30 p.m., as the Change of Pace was passing under the State Road 520 Bridge, Atwood discovered Jessica was nowhere to be found.
As soon as Atwood and his family realized Jessica was missing they anchored the vessel and Atwood launched an inflatable boat and traveled southbound about seven miles in search of the lost dog.
“Prior to Sunday she had never been in the water, so we had no idea if she would even knew how to swim,” said Atwood.
As Atwood was searching the waterway, his mother posted a notice on Facebook that the dog was missing and details of the incident.
The family also posted on various Brevard missing dog group pages on social media, prompting many throughout Brevard to join the search. Two fishermen combed the area for Jessica throughout Sunday night and Monday morning, but were unable to find her.
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Atwood said he was up all night worried about his dog, and on Monday morning, he and his father traveled to Merritt Island and Cocoa and canvased every local business with missing dog fliers.
Atwood said he had a gut feeling that the wind out of the northeast would bring Jessica to the western shoreline so he began to canvas houses in Rockledge, handing residents fliers and asking them if they had seen his dog.
At this point, many people were doing their part sharing his Facebook posts, including the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Photography Facebook group page, which generated 1,886 shares.
Unfortunately, he received many calls that involved people attempting to scam him,saying they had found the dog but needed payment before they would send a picture.
Then, at 6 p.m. on Monday, Atwood received the phone call he had been hoping for from a man in the Rockledge area. Atwood asked the man to bring the dog to him on the River Road in Rockledge where they were finally reunited.
As it turned out, Jessica made it to the shore of a Rockledge neighborhood, an incredible seven miles from where she had gone missing.
“Seeing that she was still alive and knowing that we were going to be reunited flooded with me so much emotion,” said Atwood.
Atwood offered the Good Samaritan a reward of $500, but he declined.
To make sure Jessica was in good health, he took her by Uber to the Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Rockledge. The emergency hospital staff thrilled to find out that the local celebrity Corgi was found safe and uninjured, although very tired.
The Uber driver insisted on getting a picture with the now celebrity Corgi that went overboard, and said: “Oh my god, can I take your picture and tell my girlfriend that the missing Corgi was found.”
Atwood was speechless over the fact that it seemed almost the entire county was invested in the search for his overboard dog.
“I was humbled by how many people were supportive in helping me find my dog, and I can’t thank everyone who helped enough,” said Atwood.