MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After plummeting five stories from a drawbridge and into the Miami River Tuesday night, a small dog has been reunited with its rescuer.
David Bernstein picked up the dog at Brickell Animal Hospital at 11 a.m. and paid for her veterinarian bills.
He told CBS4’s Natalia Zea, “She’s in good shape, I already talked to the vet;she seems to be in great spirits”
He called her a “miracle dog”. After the reunion, Bernstein took the dog to an animal foster home. Bernstein wants to adopt her, but says he can’t because he already owns a German Shepherd.
If the rightful owner of the dog does not come forward with proof of ownership, Bernstein says he will find a good, permanent home for the pup.
The mixed-breed dog was found alive on a restricted cemented area below the bridge. Bridge operators say it is a miracle the dog was able to land safely on the cement slab. Above the slab was a pool of water from recent rains, which bridge operators credit for cushioning the dog’s fall.
Witnesses say around 10 p.m. Tuesday, a small dog wearing a pink sweater approached the Brickell Avenue drawbridge. As the dog crossed onto it, the drawbridge began rising. David Bernstein was first-in-line at the drawbridge’s gates, and watched it all happen.
“I was fearful about what was about to happen. I could see it kind of unfolding. So I wanted to make sure I didn’t scare the dog in the direction of the danger,” said Bernstein.
Bernstein got out of his car and tried desperately to alert the bridge operator of the dog’s impending doom, then tried calling the dog back to safety. Other drivers joined the effort, honking their horns and screaming at the bridge operator.
With all the noise and commotion, Bernstein cannot believe the bridge operator was oblivious to the situation.
“There were quite a few people who saw the events unfolding right before their eyes and who were causing quite a scene,” said Bernstein.
The dog continued across the rising drawbridge. That’s when the unthinkable happened: the dog reached the middle, where the drawbridge’s halves meet, and plummeted into the Miami River.
“She starts sliding … and I literally just missed her by a foot,” said Bernstein.
David spent the next hour searching for the dog, but she appeared to be gone.
“I’m just a dog lover; I came really close and just missed her. Something that would’ve haunted me for a long long time,” said Bernstein.
Wednesday afternoon, he came back and found a drawbridge operator who remembered that engineers had built little tunnels in the bridge. The dog did not fall into the water; she fell into one of those tunnels.
“I couldn’t give up. I had a feeling,” an optimistic Bernstein said.
The drawbridge operator then pointed him in the right direction.
“And she said, the dog’s in there, five stories down, walking around in the mud, and I was just, I was blown away,” said Bernstein.
Berstein hopes the dog will be reunited with its owners.
Potential owners, with proof, can call 954-496-0051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.