CHICAGO (CBS)– When his dog went missing for more than two days after running off at the Montrose Dog Beach, Charles Bogenberger feared the worst, so he was overjoyed when he got a call from police Monday morning that Laila had been rescued from Lake Michigan.
“Apparently, she’s a real Michael Phelps. She swam about half a mile into the lake,” Bogenberger said after he was reunited with Laila on Monday,
Witnesses spotted Laila swimming in the lake, about a half mile from shore, around 9:30 a.m.
Police Officer Jennifer Terzich helped keep an eye on Laila in the water as Chicago Police Department and Fire Department boats responded. Although Terzich and her partner, Officer Emmanuel Ordaz Jimenez, temporarily lost sight of Laila, a Police Marine Unit boat was able to pull the pooch out of the water.
“I was surprised, because the dog was probably in the water for at least a half hour from what we can estimate,” Terzich said.
After the Marine Unit brought Laila to shore, Terzich took her to West Wrigley Animal Hospital to have her checked for an ID microchip.
Terzich said she’s a dog lover, and has worked with West Wrigley before, and knew they’d be able to track down the dog’s owner if she had a microchip.
“I will pretty much do anything for a dog. I love them,” Terzich said.
Dr. Eileen Murphy, the owner of the West Wrigley Animal Hospital, described the moments after the incident.
“She looked good, she was very scared,” Murphy said. “She drank some water and had some treats.”
Murphy was able to track down Laila’s owner, Charles Bogenberger, and reunite the two.
Bogenberger said Laila ran away around noon on Saturday while he and his dog were visiting Montrose Dog Beach, after someone left the double gate open.
“Be really careful with the double gates there, because she managed to escape, and once she escaped from the double gates because people were leaving them open, it was almost impossible to get her back in,” he said.
Laila is timid, and scared of most people she hasn’t met before, so Bogenberger figures she went swimming on Monday to get away from a stranger.
“I had never seen her swim before in my life,” he said. “She’s usually scared of the water, and I hadn’t even considered the idea that she would break into the water, but with a rescue you learn something new every day.”
Bogenberger said Laila has “insane amounts of energy,” so it’s not surprising she was able to swim so far out into the lake.
“I take her for about 9 miles of exercise a day,” he said.
After Laila ran off on Saturday, Bogenberger spent most of the weekend searching for her near Montrose Beach.
“I was distraught. I was scanning the park. I probably spent the vast majority of my weekend in the park looking for her. There was a little bit of crying, and out of desperation I was this close to spending the night in the park, just sleeping out there on the lawn trying to bring her back,” he said. “I looked all over the park. I had about 10 different people helping me, and we couldn’t find her anywhere. So when Chicago called me, my first question was ‘Is she alive?’ “Then once I found out, I was like, ‘I’m coming over right away.’”
Murphy said it was “a really good ending.”
Even if a pet has a collar, Murphy still recommends having a microchip inserted and updating information frequently. The microchips store the name of an animal, and the owner’s name and contact information. Murphy said every animal hospital and animal shelter has a chip scanner to help lost animals return home safely.