A Berkeley man on his commute home from San Francisco in an inflatable boat Monday night before sunset saw a clutch of wind-surfers gathered with their sails down between the end of the Berkeley Pier and Angel Island.
Thinking someone might be in distress, Adam Cohen – who works for an online services company at the Presidio and commutes from his North Berkeley home in a motorized craft – motored over and found that the windsurfers had plucked a cold, black puppy from the rough waters and placed her on one of the boards, said his wife, Lisa Grodin.
The windsurfers — including the 62-year-old San Rafael resident Ed Coyne —were trying to call the Coast Guard to see if they would pick up the dog, who appears to be a mix of a lab and bull mastiff, Grodin said.
"They found her paddling out in the middle of the Bay," Grodin said. "She was paddling toward Angel Island."
Cohen called his wife from the scene and asked, "What do you think?"
She replied, "We've got to bring her home." So he brought her home.
The not exactly small puppy, who appears to be under a year old, was wearing a collar and seems healthy and well cared-for, Grodin said. They took her to the Berkeley Dog and Cat Hospitalthis morning, Tuesday, to be checked out and to see if she has an embedded identity chip. She didn't, Grodin said.
The foundling was recovering this morning, Tuesday, at the couple's home and appeared to have shaken off the deep chill of the evening's ordeal, Grodin said.
"She just has the nicest, sweetest personality," Grodin said. "She follows me everywhere."
They're hoping to locate the dog's owner, if possible. If they don't, Grodin said she would like to adopt the puppy, though her husband thinks that having one dog is probably enough. They already live with a lab mix named Zephyr, who seems disposed to peaceful co-existence with the new visitor "as long as she doesn't get near his food bowl," Grodin said.
So, if the dog's owner isn't found, they will likely adopt her out "if we can find an adoption home that "can be as loving as we would be," Grodin said.
In the meantime, what do they call their new house guest?
"We've been calling her 'Richard Parker,' from The Life of Pi," Grodin said, referring to the film about a boy stranded in a small boat at sea with a tiger named Richard Parker.
Coyne, a real estate investor, and fellow windsurfer John Newman, a San Francisco attorney, shared their experience rescuing the pup with the San Francisco Chronicle.
The pup was swimming in choppy waters, against the tide, and appeared to be struggling, Coyne told the Chronicle.
His fellow windsurfer said he was determined to save the pup.
"Ed was determined to save and rescue that dog," Newman told the Chronicle. "On Monday, he was that dog's best friend."