Coco the Yorkie was drowning in her back yard pool, when two strangers rushed in to save her.
NAVARRE BEACH — A local couple never expected to save a drowning dog while on a Saturday morning fishing trip.
On Sept. 21 at about 8:30 a.m., Rick Rodriguez and Cheryl Stafford had just pulled up to fish at the West Navarre Park when they heard a yelp and saw splashing coming from a nearby back yard.
"I stepped out of the truck and I saw a head bounce up out of the pool," Stafford said. "I instantly panicked and kind of sprinted up to the front of the house."
When she got to the door, she noticed that the home had a camera on its doorbell.
"I was trying to talk to it, thinking maybe they were upstairs still in bed, and tell them, 'Hey, we're going into your back yard because the dog's drowning," she said.
With no response and the pup running out of time, her boyfriend decided to take matters into his own hands.
"We own two dogs ... and I would hope that somebody would do the same for me," said Rodriguez, who added that there were two other dogs in the yard, one of which was a rottweiler. "I let it sniff my hand to make sure everything was good, and then I took off for the pool."
According to Kim Patrick, owner of Coco, the Yorkie that was saved, she was "extremely thankful" that he "ignored the (no trespassing) signs."
During the incident, Patrick was in Alabama, grabbing some stuff from her old house there to finish her move to Navarre Beach.
After her phone alerted her that there was a disturbance outside her house and she saw the footage, she dropped what she was doing and started rushing home. She added that her pups have a doggy door to get in and out of the house.
"I was calling everybody around asking them to please go check on my dogs," she said, describing herself as frantic.
The next day, a landscaper told her that he'd seen an eagle flying around the area, she said.
"We looked at Coco, and she had talon marks on her stomach, where she was picked up," said Patrick, who was convinced that was how she gotten trapped in the pool.
After posting surveillance camera pictures on Facebook in an attempt to find Coco's rescuers, Patrick was contacted by Stafford, and the three met up. She gave them each $50, a thank-you card and permission to fish from her dock anytime.
While trespassing is never a good idea, in this case it saved Coco's life.
"It feels great," Rodriguez said. "It's not a big deal. It's just trying to help somebody's pet out, because I know pets are very important to people (and) part of the family."