Well-known Rhode Islander rescues drowning dog from Narragansett Bay

A heroic rescue on Narragansett Bay near Warwick last Monday, after a sailor forfeited a race to save a little dog.

Jody King didn’t know how long the small shih tzu, named Lily, had been struggling out in the bay or how it even got there, but he told ABC 6 that no matter what the cost, he was going to save the dog.

The name Jody King probably sounds familiar. He’s been heavily involved in the Station Night Club Memorial efforts, after his brother died in the Station Night Club fire, so it may come as little surprise.

It all happened last Monday when King was sailboat racing, a weekly tradition he’s been doing for 15 years. He said the boat was under sail going about 3 knots, when he decided to jump to the back of the boat and do some fishing.

"I threw the rod in the water and as soon as the lure hit the water I thought I saw what was a mop," King said.

Well, it turns out that King was looking at a small dog swimming in the bay and appeared to be in distress.

"[I] leaned over to try and reach her. We were just a little too far away," he said. "I look at [the captain] and I said ‘see ya.’"

After taking off his shoes, King leaped into the water without a life vest, several hundred yards from shore, grabbed the dog, and was forced to tread water for almost 20 minutes while he waited for his team to pick him back up.

"She was kind of stressed. You can see it when I got to her," King said. "She was panting heavy. She was shaking."

As the clock ticked and after his crew tried several times to throw him a life preserver, his team was forced to forfeit the race by turning on the engine, and rescued King and the small dog.

King said there was a point that he didn’t know if he or the dog would make it out.

"The last five minutes I was a bit nervous," he said.

King said he regretted hopping off the boat without a life jacket and without advising the captain about what he was doing.

He also wanted to encourage boaters with small dogs to invest in a life jacket for your pet.

After King got pulled from the water, he called the number on Lily’s name tag and she was reunited with her owners.

The couple told King that they were shopping for a new boat when the dog just disappeared. They believe the dog was wandering in the bay for about 90 minutes.