For people who work far away from home, spending all that time in a remote location can be challenging. You’re away from your friends and family, you spend all day with the same people, and you definitely miss the comfort of your own bed and a home-cooked meal. Sometimes, it feels like the days are endless.
That’s what it must have felt like for the workers on a Thai oil rig who spent months out of the year hundreds of miles away from the shore. But when something floated by their rig one day, the day-to-day monotony was all but forgotten in the ensuing life-or-death situation.
It was a bright day for the workers of an oil rig 135 miles off the coast of Thailand. With the sun shining, the water all around them was a crisp blue. It seemed like nothing could go wrong. But that’s when one worker noticed something in the water.
It was a dog! The workers couldn’t believe their eyes. Somehow the pooch had managed to make its way over a hundred miles away from the shore and was approaching the oil rig. It was certainly giving new meaning to the term “dog paddle!”
Baffled, the men wondered what a dog was doing splashing around in the middle of the ocean. They didn’t have time to think about it for very long, though; he was clinging to a pole, exhausted, and the water wasn’t going to stay calm for long.
In fact, as the dog swam for its life, the waves were only getting bigger. With no telling as to how long the dog could cling to the rig, a few of the men came up with an interesting solution.
They fashioned a harness out of some rope they had on the rig and slowly dropped the contraption down into the water. Their goal was to secure the dog in the rope and lift him out gently, but they had no idea if the crazy plan would work.
Knowing a dog’s life was on the line, the men lined the edge of the rig, dunking their rope into the water, trying to loop it around the pooch’s belly. This proved more complicated a task than they’d imagined, like they were playing a claw machine game.
After fifteen minutes of careful maneuvering, they successfully got the dog out of the water — just in time, too! You can imagine how happy the pup was to finally be on solid ground, but he wasn’t in the clear yet.
He wasn’t in great shape, understandably. Soaked to the bone and shivering all over, the pooch wasn’t making any noises whatsoever. The workers were worried they were too late.
Luckily, once he warmed up a bit, the pup seemed to be past the worst of it. Workers gave him some meat and a hefty bowl of water from the rig, and he lapped it right up. With the dog safe, however, the workers only had a thousand new questions to answer.
First off, he needed a name. The workers knew he’d survived only because of chance, so they gave him a name to fit: Boonrod, which in Thai means “he has done good karma and that helps him to survive.” The next question, though, was the toughest to answer.
What were they supposed to do with him? Thankfully, several hours removed from the frigid water (not to mention a quick power nap), Boonrod’s condition was improving; he was even smiling! But he had no bed, and, for the time being, no owner.
So, the men built a makeshift cage for Boonrod on the rig, where he could be safe with a warm place to rest. As an added bonus, the reinforced cage also allowed the crew to safely move the dog to a ship if the time came.
By the end of the second day, Boonrod looked to be on his way to a full recovery. He was regaining his strength and was enjoying being around people again, and the crew was enjoying having a furry friend around! But there was still one mystery left to be solved.
No one knows how a dog came to end up over 135 miles off the shore in the middle of the open ocean. Some speculated Boonrod accidentally fell off the side of a fishing boat or intentionally jumped from a ship where he was being abused.
After two days on the oil rig, Boonrod was successfully moved to the mainland and given real medical care. The treatments were funded by Watchdog Thailand, a nonprofit that helps needy animals in the country, and the pooch met the medical pros in style.
As the workers had wanted Boonrod feeling as pampered as possible, they’d strung a gold floral wreath around his neck and let him play with all his new admirers coming to give him a check up. It’s hard to imagine this dog was lost at sea just days before, but still, the workers were worried they’d overlooked a health problem.
But by the end of his medical care, Watchdog Thailand confirmed that Boonrod was doing well and thriving. The dog was probably happy enough with some food and a safe place to rest — but the nonprofit went above and beyond. Still, his future wasn’t set. Where would he live?
Well, one of the workers on the oil rig, Vitisak Payalaw, said that if no one came forward to claim or adopt Boonrod, he’d bring the pup home himself. Vitisak was the photographer who captured Boonrod’s entire harrowing journey, so he probably had an extra level of sympathy for the pooch.
And sure enough, when no one arrived to claim Boonrod, Vitisak took the dog home with him. I’m sure he was secretly hoping that would happen all along — just look at that face!
The story immediately went viral and people across the world were logging on to follow Boonrod’s saga from waterlogged dog to happy pup. Vitisak was happy Boonrod was received so warmly but insisted that he didn’t want donations to help take care of him.
And Boonrod is totally in love with his new home! The pair are extremely happy together. It’s not every day that a dog captures the hearts of millions, but after all the hardship Boonrod had to suffer, it’s not surprising that he did.
No matter where in the world you might be, sometimes, dogs just need human help. Not long before Boonrod’s flirtation with disaster, for instance, another dog found himself begging for someone to lend him a paw.
Pulling a cat out of a tree was a standard task for Fire Captain Scott Parkin. But one morning he received a call about a far more complicated pet rescue.
Something was wrong at the Great Falls in Paterson, New Jersey. Visitors spotted movement in some bushes growing out of a nearby ledge — they all had a sinking sense of what it actually was.
A closer look revealed a dog stranded at the foot of the waterfall. Nobody there could reach it, and one misstep would plunge the canine straight into the raging Passaic River.
The situation was serious. The Great Falls span nearly 80 feet from top to bottom, placing it among the largest waterfalls in the United States.
To make things worse, heavy rains from the past couple days made the waterfall’s current incredibly fierce. Parkin would have to act fast.
As luck would have it, he was the perfect man for the job. For one thing, he had 25 years under his belt as a firefighter and had handled plenty of disasters.
Flickr / Nick Perla
He also had crisis management in his blood. His father Joseph was a longtime firefighter who passed along all his knowledge to his son.
Paterson Fire History
Back in 1976, Joseph even saved two dogs from that same waterfall. Now Parkin was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Flickr / Joel Sax
Additionally, he felt more than prepared to put his life on the line for the pooch. Parkin believed that ‘dogs are the best — sometimes better than people.’
The Paterson firefighters originally considered launching a rescue mission by boat. However, the powerful current made this option too risky. They were going to have to get creative.
With the help of his team, Parkin hooked up a cable to a bridge above the falls and bravely rappelled down. Hopefully, the dog would cooperate, or else the ride back up would go far less smoothly.
Northjersey.com / Mitsu Yasukawa
When Parkin finally reached the ledge, he breathed a sigh of relief. The pitbull in peril was not hostile or seriously injured.
Flickr / Kait Young
Parkin was a dog owner himself, so he knew how to earn the dog’s trust despite the tense situation. With a handful of food and a few encouraging words, he lured it closer.
Keeping his cool, Parkin led the pit bull into a bag connected to the cable. It wouldn’t provide the most comfortable ride for the pup, but at least it wouldn’t be able to look down!
As a crowd of concerned onlookers gathered around the waterfall, the Fire Captain gave the signal that he was ready for his team to hoist him up.
Northjersey.com / Mitsu Yasukawa
The firefighters expertly pulled Parkin and his new friend up the face of the Great Falls. At last, he planted his feet back on solid ground. Mission success!
Animal control officers on the scene confirmed that the pooch was okay and congratulated Parkin. They said that without his heroics, the critter would have likely drowned.
Northjersey.com / Mitsu Yasukawa
A class act all the way, Parkin gave full credit to his team. He explained, ‘I trust these guys with my life. I’d go off any structure at any height with the trust I have in these guys and the work they do.’
NBC4 New York
The dog’s collar had no tag attached, so Mayor Andre Sayegh named it Paterson. With open arms, the fire department adopted the animal named after the town.
Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge
How did Parkin celebrate a job well done? He went off to call his 94-year-old father, who was undoubtedly quite proud. For the Parkin clan, animal rescues simply run in the family.